‘Romeo and Juliet’ comes to Madison High

See this wonderful retelling of the world’s best-known love story, right here in outer East Portland; it opens November 29 …

During a rehearsal for the upcoming production of “Romeo and Juliet” at Madison High School, Romeo attends a ball at the Capulet mansion, hoping to hook up with Lord Capulet’s niece – but instead, he meets and falls in love with the Lord’s daughter, Juliet.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Although written some 500 years ago, the central characters of the William Shakespeare play, “Romeo and Juliet”, are still our archetypes for star-crossed young lovers.

And, in a unique adaptation, as only Ms. Zena can create, “Romeo and Juliet” will be on stage at Madison High School, opening November 29 with three shows that weekend.

“This is a somewhat-modern retelling of the classic story,” Madison High’s Drama Instructor, and the show’s director, Zena, told East Portland News while a rehearsal was getting underway.

Coaching the actors, as they prepare for their presentation of what might be Shakespeare’s most famous play, is the show’s director, Ms. Zena.

“In our production, the young adult characters in the play use modern language – while, the older characters speak in ‘old English’, using the language of Shakespeare,” Zena explained. “In this way, we’re working with the idea that, not only is there a gap between the two families, but also a gap between the two generations.”

Following Shakespeare’s dramatic structure, the play switches between comedy and tragedy to heighten tension. And, with a cast of 35 Madison High student actors – supplemented by 15 middle school actors – the full cast plays out Shakespeare’s sub-plots which embellish the story.

Romeo, played by student actor Emryk Jensen, sneaks a “bedroom window” meeting with Juliet, portrayed by Elizabeth Silva.

About the story
“Romeo and Juliet” is about two young lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their long-feuding families – namely, the House of Capulet, Juliet’s family; and Romeo’s, the House of Montague. Add in that a member of the Ruling House of Verona wants to marry Juliet, and the stage is set.

“The way that we’ve constructed and presented the story, it is the young people who dedicate themselves to ending this ‘family war’ – this conflict between two powerful families.

Sneaking into a party are Balthasar (played by Eden Abbott) and Benvolio (played by James Stone), along with Mercutio (played by Miles Tibray), Romeo and Abram (played by Anja Kennedy).

“So, it’s very clear that it’s the younger generation we’re looking to, to step up and fix the errors of the older generations,” Zena remarked.

As with all their shows, all of the sound, lighting and sets for this dramatic presentation were created and are operated by 25 stage technicians, working behind the scenes.

What will become of Romeo, Juliet, and their friends, after a fight breaks out? Come see the play and find out!

“Romeo and Juliet” opens November 29
See this lively production – with both love and battle scenes – unfold on stage opening night, November 29, at 7:00 p.m.

The show also plays the evening of November 30; and, there’s a special Afternoon Matinee at 2:00 p.m. on December 1.

Tickets: $7, at the door.

Come see this fine show in the Hibbard Auditorium at James Madison High School, 2735 NE 82nd Avenue, 97220.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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