'Romeo and Juliet' opens Oct. 17 at Richland High School

Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldOctober 10, 2013 

Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, presented by the Richland High drama department, will run one weekend starting Oct. 17 in the school's auditorium.

Director Ellicia Elliott decided the roles of Romeo and Juliet would be double cast -- two different actors will portray Romeo and the same for the role of Juliet.

"They will alternate performances," Elliott said.

The production will be set in the 1960s in the United States instead of England during Shakespeare's time in the 1500s.

"I really wanted to focus on the generational gap between parents and children," Elliott said. "The students and I have been doing a lot of research, and it's been amazing finding all the correlations between Shakespeare's text and what was happening in this country in the 1960s with civil rights and Vietnam."

The play is the classic tragedy of star-crossed lovers, but in a whole new era. Romeo and Juliet are caught in a feud between their families. The Montagues and Capulets are at war with each other during a tumultuous time of revolution, change and loss of innocence, Elliott said.

The student actors portraying Romeo are Cadence Arevalo and Jacob Rowe. Juliet will be portrayed by Emily Mosset and Emily Obermeyer.

Elliott also decided to cast the male roles of Mercutio and Tybalt with female actors Lauren Balone and Rachel Firen Hodges.

The student actors spent a couple of weeks in August training to speak in Shakespeare's language. They also worked with Anna Newbury, a certified fight choreographer who teaches at Richland High.

Performance times are 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17-19 with a 2 p.m. matinee Oct. 19. General admission is $10 or $8 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the door.

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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