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Theatre departments debuts Romeo and Juliet for a limited time

Shakespeare's iconic Romeo & Juliet comes to the CRC Black Box Theatre

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The theatre department debuted their production of “Romeo and Juliet” on Oct. 5.

The play is set in Verona, Italy during the 1600s, and is based around the long feud between two families, the Capulets and the Montagues. This feud leads to an unfortunate ending between the two main characters, Romeo and Juliet.

“We’re trying to make it appear like it did in the 1600s, and that’s really hard to do in five weeks with an academic program,” said Department Set Designer and Technical Director Martin Flynn.

“It was very overwhelming for some of them,”he said.

The play starts with a well-choreographed sword fight between the dueling families.  

Flynn and his stage design students recreated the London Globe Theatre where William Shakespeare was once a resident playwright. Although overwhelming, the students created the replica theatre and looked forward to seeing the completion on opening night.

“Opening night is like giving birth to the show,” said Flynn. “The show is born now and then it takes on a life of its own.”

Courtney Shannon, 19, a child development major, plays Juliet. Shannon’s performance stood out due to the fact that she acted as if she was 14 years old.

“I thought about how I felt when I was 13, 14, crushing on boys,” said Shannon. “It’s a lot of stress, but I really tried to play me at 14, how I was with boys.”

Shannon admitted to being nervous but was excited for opening night.

“Opening night is a celebration of all the work we’ve done, there’s this rush of energy and everyone is so excited, the audience is excited because they got to see it first show,” said Shannon. “It’s my favorite part!”

Theatre arts major Maggie Perez plays the nurse to Juliet and says it’s a “heavy role.”

“The nurse is a heavy comedic character,” said Perez. “I haven’t done such a very funny character before, so I’m working really hard to hone in on all of the jokes.”

Perez also plays the part of a servant on some nights and said she is looking forward to the final show for reflection of the hard work that was put into the production.

“I’m most looking forward to closing night, I see that as the finish line,” said Perez. “There’s always a different energy that night.”

The details of the costumes for the cast were visible.

Costume Designer and new CRC theatre arts professor Audrey Walker, who is also a full-time staff member at Sacramento State, made 13 pieces for the show with the help of two students. There were 50 costumes in the play.

The boys wore period clothing of the 14th century that somehow had a modern feeling.

Walker used already made pieces and turned them into period pieces for the cast. The girls dresses are ball gowns from thrift stores that she altered or added period sleeves to.

“You have to look but I tried to take real things and tried to make them periods, and that was my concept,” said Walker.

The lace details and jewels worn by Lady Capulet and Juliet were precise and beautiful. For the nurses and maids, the ragged, torn and almost worn out clothing choice was a nice detail to show the class differences of the women.

“This play is iconic because this story is happening right now, so I tried to bring the elements of it right now, but it’s far away and that’s what Shakespeare did,” said Walker.

More than 30 people helped make this production possible.

“A lot of people going to plays don’t realize how much goes into making the play,” said Flynn. “There’s hurdles and challenges everyday but the idea is to keep progressing.”

The play is now playing at the Black Box Theatre until Oct. 21. For showtimes, tickets and other info, call (916) 691- 7802.

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Theatre departments debuts Romeo and Juliet for a limited time