Whether in an English class or film rendition, Romeo and Juliet has held its ground as one of the classic love stories.
The Texas State’s Department of Theatre and Dance presented the classic Shakespearean love tragedy Romeo and Juliet April 19-24, directed by Amelia Bahr in the Theatre Center Mainstage.
This rendition of Romeo and Juliet had a twist—the director cast a new character to play the role of death. Despite these larger-than-life additions, the heart of the story remains the same.
Grayson Yockey, musical theater junior, who played Romeo, said the show is more relatable than most people realize, especially for teenagers and university students who were recently in high school.
“I think the whole story is really relatable, or at least for people our age,” Yockey said. “It’s essentially a rom-com until everybody dies. Going to parties and sneaking into your girlfriend’s house—it’s all things we’ve thought about or things that we’ve dreamt about. It’s very relatable in that very teenage angsty way.”
Yockey said the show revolves around the family feud and themes of revenge and grudges.
“I honestly think we’re trying to tell the story at its core,” Yockey said. “We’re focused on what the feud does. The story, as funny as it is, does get very dark and it does get very violent.”
Anna Uzele, musical theater sophomore, who played the personification of death, said the idea of casting death came from a dream Bahr had of death roaming the streets of Verona.
“She is a product of a dream that our director had one night, and she was trying to think of a concept,” she said. “So, why not cast death as a character?”
Uzele said she brought the role to life through her movement.
“I don’t have any lines, but I have dance sequences,” she said. “Amelia gave me a little bit of free reign on what I wanted to do with the character. I would show her something, and then she’d be like ‘Okay, that works or it doesn’t.’ She was great to work with.”
Juliet was played by Chandler Lovelle, musical theater senior. She said the cast and crew have been preparing since the beginning of the semester.
The initial step of the rehearsal process was perfecting Shakespearean language, she said.
“We started out by breaking down the Shakespearean text,” Lovelle said. “We broke it down to modern language so we could understand it first. People who have seen the show said it was easier to understand because we had a grasp of everything.”
Lovelle said she hopes the show allows audience members to reexamine their own personal relationships.
“I want the audience to take away something other than a love story,” Lovelle said. “I hope they reevaluate the relationships in their own life and possibly the damaged ones. If they have damaged relationships in their life, I hope they consider to mend them after seeing the show.”