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RHS Breathes New Life into Shakespeare’s Classic Tragedy “Romeo and Juliet”

Cast members Turner Allen (Romeo) and Tingyu Yuan (Juliet) meet in Juliet’s garden in the Nov. 30, 2023 performance of “Romeo and Juliet.”

The RHS Drama Department staged a splendid, original adaptation of the famous Shakespeare play “Romeo and Juliet” in the high school auditorium on Thursday, Nov. 30 and Friday, Dec. 1.

The show opened with incredible special effects that set the somber tone and impressive level of quality that marked the entire performance. The cast and crew combined their talent and resources to breathe new life into this classic show.

For the first time in RHS history, the drama club staged two separate fall productions, “Romeo and Juliet” and “As You Like It,” in the high school auditorium This meant that the club faced the tricky task of sharing not only the space and props but also the student directors, Amelia Diaz and Aydan Salim.

“At first, I was a bit nervous,” Salim said.  “It was daunting taking on such a classic story, especially given the fact that our version was much shorter.” This was a nod to Director Jacob Burlas, who teaches drama at RMS, and expertly cut down Shakespeare’s original text of the play to 90 minutes.

Senior Turner Allen and junior Tingyu Yuan played the iconic duo, Romeo and Juliet. Comparing Juliet’s initial scenes to her final moments showed Yuan’s incredible range as an actor. Similarly, Romeo’s slow descent from a lovestruck man into a murderer was riveting.

Other standout performances came from the supporting characters. Benvolio, played by sophomore Emma Carothers, and Mercutio, played by senior Bridget DeConto, added levity to the show. Their extraordinary performances as Romeo’s bickering friends made Mercutio’s death all the more heart-wrenching.

“I liked acting silly, being over-dramatic and ranting about nonsense in people’s faces,” DeConto said. “Benvolio and I had fun just running around engaging in shenanigans.”

Played by senior Sofya Andrianova, Tybalt was a chilling character who immediately caught the audience’s attention, keeping everybody on the edge of their seats. Impressive performances also came from junior Pooja Das as Lady Capulet, junior Harsh Magdum as Paris and freshman Sara Lim as Juliet’s Nurse.

“We needed versatility, making sure the set would be able to work for both shows,” said junior Carolyn Marconi, a stage crew member. “We also had to make sure that the set pieces, such as the ladder and table, fit the overall feel of the shows.”

Junior Tyler Pietrzykowski, the costume coordinator,  and freshman costumer Amelia Richard ensured that every costume fit with the theme of the story.

“Overall, this experience was challenging but also very experimental,” Salim said. “I think that both the performers and I learned a lot from being able to add our own sparkle on a timeless tale.”

This original production of “Romeo and Juliet” exemplified the amazing work of the RHS Drama Department, leaving the audience with a chilling feeling at the show’s conclusion. The cast, stage crew and directors did incredible work staging this classic show for a new audience.

About the Contributor
Shauna Gelman
Shauna Gelman, Staff Reporter
Shauna Gelman is a senior at RHS and a staff reporter for Rampage. She is also participating in Mrs. Finnell’s Journalism I class. Shauna is a member of the color guard and takes part in Randolph’s theater productions. Outside of school, Shauna enjoys spending time playing with her two-year-old mini poodle, Loki. 
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