Having gone through the exhausting and rewarding experience of mounting a full scale production for the state of Florida in Tampa, we were ready to take a nice break, which consisted of one evening off before starting our next theatrical adventure of the William Shakespeare iconic play, “Romeo & Juliet.”
We had four weeks to put on the production, the fifth being our show week. Here’s how our production was put together. For our first week, the cast and production team sat at a large table to read through the script to make cuts, discuss themes and creative ideas. For the next three weeks, we blocked each scene of memorable moment to moment, treating the play as if it had never been done before, and finding the truth within each poetic line. We really worked many of the most memorable scenes to make them our own.
A fond memory of mine during this process, was the day in which we began planning the iconic balcony scene – discovering every little nuance and innocent moment that came with each bit of dialogue spoken between Romeo and Juliet. Hanna Swidler, who portrayed Lady Capulet, found that “the hardest part of rehearsals was definitely finding a way to make the story as interesting for our audience, as it was for us to portray it.” “Shakespeare is definitely intimidating, but it was super important that we were able to make the audience understand what we were saying,” said Caiti Fallon, who played Benvolio.
Another highlight of this process was learning how to sword fight. “I started with literally no background on sword fighting, but by the end it felt super easy and super cool,” said C.J. Rosado. “The moment where Romeo [Aidan] trudged through the water and swung [his] sword at me was definitely one that stuck out and really kind of got me thinking ‘Shoot, this is real!’” The cast really enjoyed themselves during these moments, which kept us going even through the long rehearsal days.
Once the show opened, we earned so much praise from our supportive MVA audiences. Attendees left the theatre with images of magnificent dances, grand professions of love, violent ends to beloved friends, desperate faces on young lovers, and Romeo and Juliet’s inevitable doom, due to the wonderful direction and choreography of Roberta Emerson and Rebecca Montgomery. “Romeo & Juliet” quickly became a highlight of the season, as well as a show to be remembered in MVA Theatre’s ever expanding catalog of memorable productions.
Thank you to everyone who made this show so successful, from the cast and crew, to the volunteers who give their time, energy and resources, to our faithful audience who support every show with thunderous applause. It was a great season and we look forward to seeing you all back at the theatre for our 2019-20 season!