We all know the infamous tale of the two star-crossed lovers from feuding families whose relationship was doomed from the start with the tragic ending that tugs at our heartstrings. Now, for the first time in decades, William Shakespeare’s famous play “Romeo and Juliet” will make its way to the Tri-Town as the Old Rochester Regional High School Drama Club gets ready to present it this weekend.
“This is the first time in over 30 years that a full-scale Shakespearean play is being done in this area,” said Director Paul Sardinha. “It’s really good theatre and it’s really well-written. I’m excited because it’s another first for ORR and for the area. We’re having a really great time with this show.”
108 students make up the cast and crew of the show. With 48 onstage actors and 60 tech crewmembers, Sardinha has needed all hands on deck to make this show a reality.
“The students have really risen to the occasion,” said Sardinha. “We had to add extra rehearsals because of the way Shakespeare writers. None of the students have ever done Shakespeare before.”
Sardinha said he had always wanted to do Shakespeare with the students; however, he didn’t want to interfere with ORRHS English Teacher Kathy Brunelle’s curriculum. However, when Sardinha was training to fill in for Brunelle when she went on maternity leave, she gave him the green light.
Daniel Donohue and Katie Kiernan will play the roles of Romeo and Juliet, respectively. This is the first leading role for both actors.
“Katie has a wonderful playful innocence that comes across very beautifully on stage,” said Sardinha. “Daniel has a wonderful vulnerability about him, so when he gets into the really intense scenes in the play, you can see the genuine feeling is there.”
For the school’s first Shakespearean play, Sardinha wanted to do it big. With over 100 costumes, extensive rehearsals and dozens of scene changes, the performance will be sure to captivate any audience.
Sardinha wanted to make the performance as realistic as possible. That’s why he brought in Choreographer Christopher Lamontagne for 21 hours worth of sword fight training with real sabers.
“The audience will be quite pleased when they hear the clanking of real swords,” he said.
Pleasing the audience isn’t the only item on Sardinha’s agenda. He knows performing a classic like Shakespeare will be a great learning tool for the students.
“Every single inspiring actor or actress needs to learn the basics before they start to run,” he said. “Shakespeare is a staple. It’s an old workhorse. They need to be familiar with his productions. Real theater is based on Shakespeare. It broadens their knowledge.”
“Romeo and Juliet” will run from Thursday, November 15 through Saturday, November 17 at 7:30 pm. A Sunday matinee will be held at 2:00 pm on November 19. Tickets are $12 for the general public and $10 for students and senior citizens.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at The Pen and Pendulum in Mattapoisett, Plumb Corner Market in Rochester and at the Marion General Store. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.
By Katy Fitzpatrick