REVIEW: Shakespeare Tavern’s Performance of RJ60

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REVIEW: Shakespeare Tavern’s Performance of RJ60

Shakespeare Tavern acts

Shakespeare Tavern acts "RJ60" at McIntosh.

Natalie Spellman

Shakespeare Tavern acts "RJ60" at McIntosh.

Natalie Spellman

Natalie Spellman

Shakespeare Tavern acts "RJ60" at McIntosh.

Lexie Holder, Staff Writer

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The Shakespeare Tavern came to McIntosh on March 13 and 14 to perform Romeo and Juliet for freshmen students studying the play and anyone interested. The tavern pressed a two-hour play into one hour to fit the schedule. The renovated play grabbed the name “R.J60” for Romeo and Juliet in 60 minutes. Ninth Grade English courses require specific studies on figurative language and teachers tend to gravitate toward Shakespearean works because of his intriguing stories and comedy. These aspects have the power to grab attention from their students.

“Romeo and Juliet is the standard introduction to Shakespearean works,” explained ninth grade English teacher Shanon Woolf. “That tends to be the case because the hero and heroine are high school kids that are battling a world they don’t fit into, just like every other kid,” she continued.

The Tavern performed the play with eight actors and a limited budget. The actors added modern flairs to the show to gravitate to their young audience. The actor playing Mercutio did dances such as the “Milly-Rock” and the “Floss.” The actors discussed in an open interview the changes that were made and their grievances.

“[We had to] absolutely keep pushing through,” Sariel, the actor portraying Romeo, explained about how difficult it was to maintain key parts in the play considering their time limit.

The play portrayed the story of Romeo and Juliet well by engaging with the audience and speaking directly toward the students. The tavern did an excellent job of using the original words of Shakespeare, but also making it understandable and relatable to high school students. The actors made sure to preserve the iconic and timeless storyline, despite major changes and a cast of only 8.

The actress that portrayed Lord Capulet did a fascinating job by speeding up Lord Capulet’s monologue to Juliet in hate and also using body language to portray the utter despise that Lord Capulet felt for Juliet at the time.

Although the Tavern did a wonderful job with this scene, it was disappointing to miss the monologue of remorse and mourning that Lord Capulet spoke about Juliet after her death. “O child! O child! my soul, and not my child! Dead art thou, dead! alack, my child is dead, and with my child, all my joys are buried,” cried Lord Capulet.

We needed the beautiful speech in scene 4 to shine a light on Lord Capulet by showing the roundness of the character. The remorse of Lord Capulet in this scene is overflowing. The feeling of watching two parents, three including the Nurse, as they mourned over their only child left should have been added.

The actor that portrayed the Servant/Mercutio was a favorite of the student body. His character added a lightness to the scenes that he was in. The use of the death scene with Mercutio (act lll scene 1) was so important to keep and the Tavern did an amazing job preserving this scene. This scene was needed to symbolize the evilness swallowing up the last bit of hope and joy in the play.

“And where the worser is predominant, Full soon the canker death eats up that plant,” Friar Laurence speaks of the good and evil in the earth in act ll scene 3. An understanding of the seriousness in which the play had turned in this scene with the death of beloved Mercutio was very well done.

Scene 1 of act V included Balthasar being cut which, in turn, made the last scene confusing and numb. Balthasar was supposed to deliver a note to Romeo, but this note was not given to Romeo. Romeo began to second guess Friar Laurence. He, consequently, believes that Juliet is actually dead and Romeo remembers an old, poor apothecary and gives his worldly possessions to him for a vile that “if you had the strength of twenty men, it would dispatch you straight,” describes the apothecary. The foreshadowing is needed for Romeo’s undeniable suicide at Juliet’s side on her bier at the Capulet tomb.

Although The Tavern cut many important parts, the play was done exceptionally well. The addition of modern flairs that captivated the student body was a fantastic idea. The cuts were made for the purpose of time and The Tavern executed the scenes they did to perfection. This was a great experience that I do hope future students get to enjoy.

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