Behind the scenes of “Romeo and Juliet”

“For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo ” William Shakespeare writes at the end of his masterpiece, Romeo and Juliet. The Department of Music and Theatre is putting on a production of this very play in the first week of November. Whether you have seen the play and/or the movie adaptations many times, or have never heard of it, this production will keep you on the edge of your seat. One minute you will be laughing, and the next you will feel betrayed and heartbroken. Here are some behind the scenes pictures and quotes from the director, Craig Johnson, adjunct professor in the Theater Department, and a couple cast members.

Left to right: Raul Arambula, graduate student at UST (Romeo) and Maya Butler, ‘20 at SCU (Benvolio)

Left to right: Raul Arambula, graduate student at UST (Romeo) and Maya Butler, ‘20 at SCU (Benvolio).

“I think people will really like-and maybe be surprised by-the amount of humor, warmth, and charm there is, especially in the first part of the play. The first half is so important because it really helps you bond with the characters. You realize all of the positive forces that the characters have in their life [like] the friendship that Romeo has with Benvolio and Mercutio….So it really hits us more deeply if we can see and experience that before some of the tragic events in the later part of the play.”- Johnson

Left to right: Tressa Avestruz, ‘17 at SCU (Lady Capulet, Narrator), Abby Sunberg, UST student, ‘18 (Juliet) and the Claire Frederick, ‘17 at SCU (Nurse)

Left to right: Tressa Avestruz, ‘17 at SCU (Lady Capulet,Prince Escalus,and Apothecary), Abby Sunberg, UST student, ‘18 (Juliet) and the Claire Frederick, ‘17 at SCU (Nurse and Frair John).

“The very first thing we did was we read through the whole thing, everyone sitting around a table. Everyone saw what everyone else had to do, which was beautiful. We got to see the whole vision at the very beginning, and ever since then we have been working towards it.” – Jon Lotti, St. Thomas, ‘19

Left to right: Lotti (Mercutio, Paris) and Arambula

Left to right: Lotti (Mercutio, Lord Paris) and Arambula.

“In preparing for the role, I really had to work through the language and get that in my body. What makes Shakespeare different from any other playwright is that his language is so specific. So getting that specific language down first and then unpacking it, detail by detail is really how I prepared as a cast member, and how I think we all prepared as an ensemble.”- Lotti

Lotti and Victoria Nelson, ‘19 at SCU (Tybalt, Servant to Capulet).

Lotti and Victoria Nelson, ‘19 at SCU (Tybalt, Servant to Capulet).

“I’m really looking forward to the sword fights between me and Mercutio and later, between Romeo and me. The scene between me and Mercutio is the first kind of, “Oh shit” moment where it turns from comedy to tragedy, and it gives us chills every time we do it.”- Nelson.

Arambula and Sara Schoenbauer, ‘20 at SCU (Lady Montague, Friar Lawrence).

Arambula and Sara Schoenbauer, ‘20 at SCU (Lady Montague, Friar Laurence).

“Even though I’ve been doing theater for about eight years, Shakespeare was intimidating to me. I’ve never done it before, so I kind of took it as a challenge, and I’ve been loving every minute of it.”- Schoenbauer

Arambula and Frederick.

Arambula and Frederick.

“I think this play is really about unchecked emotions and unchecked passions. It portrays when the emotions sort of floods us and overwhelms us and we can’t really think straight.” – Johnson.

From left to right: Schoenbauer, Butler, Sunberg, Arambula, Avestruck, Nelson, and Chris Grant, 17 at UST (Lord Capulet).

From left to right: Schoenbauer, Butler, Sunberg, Arambula, Avestruck, Nelson, and Chris Grant, 17 at UST (Lord Capulet).

“The whole thing with the Montagues and the Capulet’s- no one can even identify the original cause of the fight. So you have this terrible thing that’s happening between them that they cannot resolve. To put a contemporary spin on it, it’s like the liberal/conservative or Republican/Democrat divide we have in the country now. Everyone feels it’s like the other side’s fault, and no one can see a way to get out of the political gridlock. So there are unchecked emotions that are very negative like that, and there are very positive ones. We love Romeo and Juliet falling in love- we think that’s a beautiful thing, and we want to celebrate that. But when those two different passions (love and hate) meet up and hit one another, that’s where you have the irreconcilable tragedy.”- Johnson

The play runs approximately 90 minutes and is being performed in the Frey Theater on November 2-5 at 7 PM and November 6th at 2 PM. Tickets are free to ACTC students, staff and faculty with I.D. and to St. Kate’s alumnae. To make reservations, call 651-690-6700.

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