Every director that is worth their salt, does a Shakespeare play. It was my turn and I picked Romeo & Juliet for my run at Shakespeare. I want to say this with a little pride. A few of the kids that were in the production have done well in the performing arts as a career. Everything from movies to Broadway. I cast the production well and everyone fit their parts. However, if you remember that Romeo and Juliet were teenagers with the intelligence of a teenager. The actors fit that perfectly. Kaila was the Stage Manager for this production in addition to Fiddler on the Roof.
- My story is one of much woe
- Starring the lovely Juliet
- And her Dingleberry Romeo
The above will not be the last time we change Shakespeare. Let me set the stage for you. It was Friday night and the middle show of a three-night production. Things went well for dress rehearsal and opening night. There is often a little bit of a letdown on Friday night. We took that to a new height with our production. Things are moving along pretty well and then we get to the death scenes almost at the very end. Romeo breaks into the tomb and sees Juliet lying dead or so he thinks. Our Romeo however, had not checked his pockets for the poison he needs. He gets into his speech and realizes that he has to kill himself somehow. Our Juliet can’t see when he does kill himself but instead of poison, he stabs himself with his dagger. Juliet comes back to life and sees Romeo dead. Thinking that Romeo had poisoned himself, she does a long bit of wanting the poison. The only person in the theatre that didn’t know he had stabbed himself was Juliet. She then stabs herself and brings the scene to an end.
I can a little into the wings and see Juliet’s response to being told what Romeo had done. I knew Romeo’s life expectancy had dropped even more when she gets a hold of him. When they came out for the curtain call he did not want to hold her hand for fear of what she might do to him. There was one little nuance to the evening that I hadn’t mentioned. The entire English Department decided to come and see the play. They encouraged their classes to see the production so we had a great crowd. I honestly believe that not many people would know that there was a huge error but the English teachers sure did. I was waiting to get blasted by them. They didn’t say anything until the last one walked out. She leaned in and whispered to me, “Changing Shakespeare, Bold Move!” It may have been the best response I ever had to a play. We still laugh about it at our house and I have a new respect for the sense of humor from the English Department. That was the first, last, and only time I did Shakespeare but we did have a great time. I still bug Juliet about it on her Facebook page for her birthday.