As Vanguard’s fifth theater production of the year, Romeo & Juliet was a hit. On Thursday, April 13, the Lyceum Theater took on one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragic love stories. Using Shakespeare’s original words, the production also had a twist. The cast members were dressed in modern clothing and all had flashy tattoos.
The Capulets depicted an upper-scale life, wearing dress slacks and vests, while the Montagues wore jeans, jackets, and beanies. From that, the play had a West-Side-Story feel.Although the play used Shakespeare’s direct version of Romeo & Juliet, some characters were seen taking aspirin, smoking a cigarette, and carrying around a plastic water bottle.
I didn’t exactly buy strapping a sword to one’s True Religion jeans while saying, “But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?” I wish there would have been a full commitment to one era or the other.
The roles of the unchanging Romeo and Juliet were cast beautifully. The chemistry between the two actors was undeniable and enjoyable. The part of young Juliet went to junior Rosalyn Brickman. Her spunk brought Juliet to life and made one remember the pep of having a young crush. Senior Royen Kent played the role of Romeo. Kent excelled at being the ideal Romeo: passionate and hot-headed as any teenage boy could be.
With smoke machines and instrumental bars between scenes, the production was an eclectic yet honest portrayal of the tragedy. Romeo & Juliet was more than worth the buck and the art of translating old English in your head.