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Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet was brought to life by students from Years 9 to 11, with a modern twist.

William Shakespeare’s tragedy of love and loss, Romeo and Juliet, has left an indelible mark on popular culture since its first performance in the late 16th century. There have been countless adaptations in film, stage, and literature, and beautiful references in music and art.

It was this sense of timeless tragedy that inspired the opening image of ֭Ƶ’s production of Romeo and Juliet. The play opened with Romeo and Juliet frozen as statues on a large gold plinth – holding hands forever as the chorus walked on to tell us the tale of the two star-crossed lovers.

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Within moments, any sense that this would be a ‘traditional’ portrayal of the play was soon displaced as Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance blared through the theatre, and the Capulets and Montagues, dressed in leather jackets and track pants, poured on to the stage and erupted into a fist-fighting brawl. This twist set the tone for what was to come, a Shakespeare play set in modern times.

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The cast, who had been rehearsing since early in Term 1, brought humour and tragedy to the story. Director, Ms Crittle, Head of Drama, was interested in the way the play progressed from romance and comedy to tragedy. “In the first half, the audience enjoyed the fun of the Capulet’s party, where Romeo and Juliet meet, and we witnessed the romance of the famous balcony scene where the lovers agree to marry. To complement this, we highlighted the comedy of roles such as The Nurse and Peter, however, the play then takes a very dark turn when Romeo kills Tybalt and the lovers tumble towards their desperate end in the Capulet’s tomb. Through the use of music and lighting by our Stage Manager, Mr Carroll, we were able to create and emphasise a variety of moods throughout the play.”

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Ms Crittle praised the hard work of the cast, saying, “The students delved into their roles, mining Shakespeare’s incredible dialogue for clues about their character. Every character in this play is complex and interesting, and each member of our cast approached the play with dedication and enthusiasm. It has been an absolute privilege and a joy to work with all of them.”

Year 10 student, Rose, who played the lead role of Juliet, found being involved to be very enjoyable, saying, “The whole production was such a magical experience that was so different to a typical school activity. Getting to know the cast and finishing each performance together was something I will never forget. The dressing rooms were always filled with friendly faces, music and many laughs.”

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Year 9 student, Sophie, who played Lady Montague, said, “I did a lot of scene changes, so remembering all of them was quite challenging, but by looking over my notes I could pull through. Another challenging thing was remembering to take notes on everything. I learnt a lot about how to perform on stage, draw focus, and add tension, which are all things I can apply to Drama as a subject. I also learnt how important it is to understand what you are saying to fully emote your lines, and I gained an understanding of how much work and how tiring being in production can be, but I could not be more grateful to have had this amazing opportunity.”

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Well done to all the students who performed in this play, and thank you to Ms Crittle, Mr Carroll, our student stage managers, all who contributed to the wonderful costumes, and to everyone who came to see the play!