VHS students prepare to present Romeo and Juliet By Lindsey Davies A play by Shakespeare is perhaps one of the most ambitious undertakings that a high school drama program could attempt. The VHS drama department feels up to the challenge.
Romeo and Juliet will be performed in the Vermillion High School Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on May 6 and 7 and at 2:30 p.m. on May 8. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for children and senior citizens and free to those with a Vermillion school district activity ticket.
Director Mary Begley had numerous reasons for choosing this play. Among them was the fact that everyone in the school has studied Romeo and Juliet.
�Everyone will have a heads-up on it already as they have already studied it,� Begley said.
One adjustment that will be made to fit the play to the high school stage is that it will be performed in a �timeless� manner.
�The audience won�t be able to pinpoint the time period,� Begley explained. In this case, making the play timeless will involve both the costumes and the set.
The costume design will merge the Renaissance and the present/future.
�Costumes will have a Gothic kind of fashion with some Renaissance influences,� Begley said. �The set will be more symbolic rather than literal.�
This will involve using lots of platforms and different colors of hanging cloths.
Of course, there are challenges to be expected with a production of such size and familiarity. One of these challenges will be the sword-fighting scenes that are present throughout Romeo and Juliet. The group won�t skip any of these scenes, however, and have practiced and trained intensely to prepare.
Another problem with the play is that there are a lot of male roles.
�We have such strong female actors. Because we are doing it in a timeless manner, however, I decided I could cast women in male roles,� Begley said.
The language from Shakespeare�s time also presents a challenge to all present-day actors and directors. The English language from Shakespeare�s time is so different from today�s English that it seems almost foreign.
�I really want the actors to own the language and to be able to communicate clearly with the audience their intentions,� Begley said. �I want to keep the poetic nature of the language pure, interesting and present.�