Romeo and Juliet — Together (and Alive!) at Last
Middle-school romantics meet “Noises Off” by way of Shakespeare! Based on Avi’s book of the same name, this script gives young actors the opportunity to do contemporary comedy, traditional Shakespeare, and all-out farce in one tour-de-force performance. I’ve seen three productions, with actors ranging from upper elementary through high school, and they all handled it just beautifully.
The balcony scene from the Laguna Playhouse world premiere directed by Joe Lauderdale.
And, yes, it’s meant to be performed on the borrowed and not very sturdy set from a 7th grade production of “Washington Crossing the Delaware.”
Cast: 7m., 10w., 7m. or w. Expandable to 35 roles. The road to farce is paved with good intentions. Eighth-graders Pete Saltz and Anabell Stackpoole are in love, but terribly shy, so shy they can’t even look at each other, let alone speak. (Anabell buries her head in books; Pete stuffs his mouth with peanut butter cookies.) To bring the two together, classmates Ed Sitrow, Lucy Neblet, Priscilla Black, and others decide to stage a performance of Romeo and Juliet, with the reluctant Pete and Anabell voted into the title roles. Ed and Priscilla pen the abridged script, including passages their English teacher has encouraged them to underline, leaving out everything they don’t understand and imagining dream players speaking the lines to perfection. Lucy gamefully tackles the direction of the real-life cast. But lack of expertise, only two weeks of rehearsal, a set left over from the seventh-grade production of Washington Crossing the Delaware, and a classmate’s villainy threaten the well-meaning endeavor every step of the way. When the big day finally arrives, lines are dropped, costumes rip, scenery tumbles, potions spill, and Juliet’s bier nearly blows up. Yet, in spite of everything—or maybe because of it—true love triumphs in the end. Commissioned by the Laguna Playhouse and the University of Utah Department of Theatre. Area staging. Approximate running time: 90 minutes.
For more information, a sample of the script, and to order copies: http://www.dramaticpublishing.com/romeo-juliet-8212-and-alive-at-last