By Hannah Jones
The Benicia High School Drama department produced their version of Romeo and Juliet on November 30th, December 1st, 2nd, 7th, and 8th under their wonderful director Nathan Day. Although the production included nothing new or special, the performances were still amazing and the best I have ever seen. One thing that did make the performance unique was the set. Instead of doing elaborate set designs and going all out, they decided to go with a more minimalist effect. The entire set included two costume racks and a moving ladder; this conservative choice gave the audience a chance to be more creative. One audience member, Johann Klapstein (12), however stated a first time audience member might find it “hard to tell the difference” between the scenes.
The actors themselves were actually amazing. In particular, Skyler Clouse (12) gave an excellent portrayal of Mercutio, Romeo’s best friend, who eventually dies because of the two families’ disputes. Her interpretation of Mercutio was absolutely stunning. She was so animated in her performance, that I believed she was the character being portrayed. I particularly enjoyed her performance in the Queen Mab monologue because instead of just talking to the audience or to Romeo, she moved about the stage engaging in a conversation with her fellow actors as well with the audience. The choreography in this play was also very well done. The fight scenes were nicely played out and the death scenes were pretty realistic. There was a scene in which the actors did a ballroom dance that really added to the play as a whole.
Romeo and Juliet was played by Kian Braulik (11), and Vivian Kringle (11). The chemistry that they had was amazing for a high school performance; they actually looked like they were in love. In all of their scenes, you could feel the tension in the love in the air, like I have never seen in a performance.
The best part about the drama department is that they include all grades in their productions. Gwen Chambers (9), played Page to Paris, Abram, Musician, Apothecary and Chorus. This was her first play with the high school and she describes opening night, saying it was, “so exciting to see what we’ve done.” The other freshman in the play, Emma Rainer said that her favorite part of the experience was “making new friends.”
On the other end of the spectrum it was senior Skyler Clouse’s last fall play. She described the experience of performing Shakespeare as “lots of hard work but it was definitely worth it,”. Being asked how she felt to be performing her final show with this cast and she described it as “bittersweet.”
As a whole, the fall play was a success even though everyone died in the end. And in Shakespeare’s word, “There is so much more to this tale of woe, than that if Juliet and her Romeo.”