Did our hearts love ‘til now?

Theater’s fall performance presents a modern twist on a Shakespearean classic

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Did our hearts love ‘til now?

Darya Tadlaoui, Junior Editor

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The theater department kicked off the year with their black box production of Romea and Julian, a gender-bent version of the classic Shakespearean tale. The play detailed the iconic story of an intense family rivalry between the Montagues and Capulets and the desire and heartbreak that entailed a forbidden love. 

This hour and a half long production was cast, rehearsed and performed all in the short span of three and a half weeks with auditions held on the second day of the school year.

“We rehearsed every day of the week from 3:30 to 5:45,” junior Estela Romero said. “It was an intense schedule but it was worth it.”

The schedule was especially demanding considering the small team of about 14 cast members and 15 crew members. Nevertheless, the members made the best out of their time together.

“My experience in this show was really enjoyable,” junior Mana Kiani said. “Because of the smaller cast, everyone was really close and we all became good friends while rehearsing to put on as good of a show as we could.”

Although the communal feelings of the cast and crew helped contribute to well-attended performances, there were some challenges they had to tackle, namely the old English diction within the script.

“Because of the vast difference between the language we use now and Shakespearean English, the main difficulty myself and the cast faced was conveying the meaning of our lines.” senior Emma Close said, who played Romea. “Because, essentially, we were speaking another language, the audience understanding us was largely dependent on our acting and body language.”

The swap of gender roles in the production was a new concept to the theater department, inspired by their trip to London last spring where they saw a gender-bent production of “The Taming of the Shrew,” another Shakespeare classic.

“Although the original is a classic, in order to keep the audience’s attention we decided to change it up a bit and break the gender stereotypes in our society today and in the 1600s,” junior Laini Pulliam said. “The mixing of patriarchal and matriarchal roles adds an element of modernism to the show. I think it’s also an interesting enticement to the new theatre students and those in the audience who are not originally fans of classical theatre.”

The swap presented a challenge to actors to tap into their respective feminine and masculine sides.

“[Theater director] Mrs. Pringle would often give me advice to embody this feminine character, without actually being feminine – which we both understood was a difficult task,” senior Aidan Mondress said, who played Julian. “I had to be Juliet, but without being a girl.”

The department considered the show was a huge success and representative of a promising year ahead. And rightfully so – the Friday performance was entirely sold out, and it is estimated that 350 people in total saw the production.

“Sometimes theatre can be overwhelming, as shows are typically back-to-back with little down time in between, but I know it’s worth it to do them all, even when the role is demanding,” Mondress said. “It was a lot of hard work, but it was greatly satisfying in the end to see my and everyone else’s efforts shine through.”

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