Old Rochester drama club stages ‘Romeo and Juliet’
MATTAPOISETT — In fair Mattapoisett, where we lay our scene, the Old Rochester Regional High School drama club is preparing for its upcoming production of “Romeo and Juliet.”
From working through the “language barrier” that is Shakespeare’s writing, to choreographing sword fights on stage, the show’s cast, crew and production team have been hard at work to stage this 427-year-old play, said director Maxx Domingos.
This version of “Romeo and Juliet” is slightly abridged, said Domingos, with a runtime of around one hour. But even though some scenes are cut for time, it still tells the complete story of Shakespere’s two Veronese teenagers.
“I hope the audience sees that these students not only understand Shakespeare but they can perform it and they can pass it on to the future generations,” said Domingos.
An understanding of Shakespeare is part of the fun for the cast.
Senior Aidan Silk, 18, who plays Romeo, found it useful to pay attention to the cadence of the language to portray the meaning in Shakespearean language.
“You have to make it poetic, I suppose, and also put yourself in the character,” said Silk, who described Romeo as a “sensitive, 14th century frat boy.”
“That’s helped me glean the vibe of Romeo as a person which helps my tonality and … what emotion to use,” he said.
For 17-and-a-half-year-old Reese Souza, who plays Juliet, some of the language in the play has been “challenging” but instruction and advice from Domingos has “helped a lot.”
“Basically every single scene of the show, bit by bit … she explains it all,” said Souza. “After [Domingos] breaks it down I tap into the character a little bit more and I put my mindset into Juliet. What would she do in this scenario? How would she feel? I really dive down deep and I feel those and I bring it to the surface.”
According to Domingos, “Romeo and Juliet” is a part of the freshman English curriculum at Old Rochester Regional High School and aside from giving kids a positive experience on stage, she hopes that this performance will help strengthen content learned in the classroom.
“I think that they have the opportunity to connect with something that’s so important [to modern media],” said Domingos. “For example, they didn’t realize that ‘Grease’ is based off of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘High School Musical’ is based off of ‘Romeo and Juliet.’”
Domingos added that the cast of “Romeo and Juliet” will give a special performance for Old Rochester eighth and ninth graders to go “back to the educational [aspect] of it.”
But even though there has never been a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo, Souza hopes that the show’s humor shines through to the audience.
“It’s going to be interesting but I think people are really going to get a kick out of it,” said Souza. “Tickets are on sale now.”
See “Romeo and Juliet” at Old Rochester Regional High School on Nov. 16, 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. and on Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for students and senior citizens and $12 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased at the Marion General Store, Isabelle’s in Mattapoisett, Friends’ Marketplace in Rochester, at the door and online for a small service fee through Eventbrite at bit.ly/ORRHSDrama-Romeo-Juliet.