Intermediate Theater Takes on Romeo and Juliet

Intermediate Theater Takes on Romeo and Juliet

In addition to a couple of childhood classics, like “The Little Mermaid,” and “Cinderella,” a certain tale of star-crossed lovers has been well-regarded for centuries. On May 9 and May 11, 2024, Arcadia High School’s (AHS) intermediate theater program added a certain aura of magic to a tragic love story: Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. 

The story revolves around the two obvious main characters, Romeo and Juliet, who belong to feuding families: the Montagues and Capulets, respectively. Romeo has been feeling particularly down following the rejection of his love by Rosaline, while Juliet has received a marriage proposal from a widely-respected Count. At a party Romeo is forced to attend, the pair meet each other and experience the cliché but wholesome “love-at-first sight” moment – until they find out their families are sworn enemies. 

Now, more than four hundred years later after the play was originally written, AHS’ intermediate theater class retells the story to teach the audience that love is more important than hate. In a modern twist to the age-old story, the show incorporated a musical aspect, with artists like Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, and Paramore being featured throughout as Max Young and Faith Huang served as AHS’ Romeo and Juliet. By the end of the show, the audience was brought to tears by a not-so-sweet ending.

However, the whole process to prepare such an emotionally compelling show took many weeks. Auditions for the show started in late February, with rehearsals starting as soon as Arcadia High School’s “Legally Blonde” production wrapped up and tech week starting early May. 

Each actor needed to work hard to understand who they were playing through character analysis – an activity that involves discussing what each character wants in a scene, finding acting choice, and, according to freshman Max Young, identifying the “character’s age, interests, and relationships with others.” In addition to this, the show’s directors added additional perspective on the character and scene, and that feedback as well as any other feedback is applied by the crew. 

This was, obviously, no light work given the extensive amount of time needed to create a production. When Faith Huang, who played Juliet, was asked about the acting process, she said, “It definitely wasn’t easy! I’ve never done such a big role, and combined with the added singing…it was a lot of pressure. But when I put in the work and could feel confident in my abilities, I’m really grateful I was able to play Juliet.”

Young echoed a similar sentiment, saying, “The most difficult part of rehearsals…was finding the time to finish all my work from other classes during tech week. We stay at school until 10 p.m., and as a lead I don’t have much time to do schoolwork.”

Tech week typically refers to the week leading up to the show in which the cast works with stage crew to smooth out any issues that may come to light on the technical end, like music and lighting.

According to Emery Li, one of the Sound Designer working on the play, tech week entails running through “every single scene to make sure everyone is lit[,] all the sound cues are played at the correct times and the costumes match well with the set and the overall mood.”

To Li, her favorite part was “how much freedom [Stagecraft] had when creating the show.” Overall, Li felt as though she “made an impact” with her [co-sound] designer, Lizzi Gladson-Pang through her work.

However, being a part of the cast presents the opportunity to be close to one’s friends and get to better know the directors. This was the case for Young, who believes he got to connect “with the other actors and directors” in addition to his companions who were in the cast. 

Overall, the show was quite the memorable experience for those in the audience, leaving a significant amount of people “in the feels.” Whether the many people in attendance were cheering their friends on or simply seeking their first Shakespeare experience, this production was certainly beyond “one for the books.”


Photo Courtesy of ARCADIASTAGE

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