Eleanor Bogart-Stuart staff writer
The theater classic “Romeo and Juliet” took center stage at the Salter Theater this past week to honor the memory of the late and great Beverly theater director, John Ingle. With bottles of poison, a myriad of deaths and a legging-clad man thrusting on a sword, it’s surprising that the most impressive part was actually the effect that the play had on its audience. Although written far, far before the teenage audience was even born, it was clear that the onlookers actually connected to the characters and their rather dramatically antiquated problems.
The tragic, but distant, story of Romeo and Juliet was brought to life due to the prowess of the double-cast actors juniors Isaac Spector and PJ Goolsby, who played Romeo, and juniors Ella Tat and Sydney Fiore, who played Juliet. On closing night, Tat couldn’t find the knife with which to kill herself so she simply used her hands to commit suicide-a sign of a purely talented actor. Both Tat and Fiore were radiant on stage opposite their dashing Romeos, who, although almost frantically interacting with Juliet at certain points, truly excelled as the forefront and main point of the play.
But the driving force of the play wasn’t necessarily the main characters. Thanks to the polished prose of seniors Jackson Prince and Tristan McIntyre, the play was elevated from adequate to amazing. The bawdy and bacchanalian behavior of Prince served as the perfect dose of comedic relief throughout the play. McIntyre played the rowdy but less raunchy cohort to Prince’s Mercutio, Benvolio. Their symbiosis and silliness on stage kept the play flowing smoothly, the crowd interested and for the teenagers in the audience a chance relate to something written in the sixteenth century.
Each and every cast member played a vital role in the play even if they did not serve as a lead. They all served a purpose, and all helped create the ambience of being inside a forgotten world. Junior Scott Senior’s, or Capulet’s, volatile speech towards Juliet had a huge impact on the audience, causing most people to go wide-eyed in awe of such wrathful behavior.
Theater director Dr. Brad Vincent filled the shoes of beloved director Herb Hall. Vincent’s influence can already be seen throughout the Performing Arts Dept. As opposed to the single play and single musical of years prior, now two other plays will be on the way as well as a spring musical. During the previews, Vincent even explained some of the methodology behind what the actors were doing. Because of that, the minors in the audience could relate more to the abstract and ancient speech they were hearing. For example, Vincent discussed the fact that two rival households of Montague and Capulet have signature sword fighting patterns and that the stage was a miniature replica of what a Shakespearean stage would have looked like back in the day.
These small additions to the production were vital to make people feel like they were actually part of the play. Perhaps the most touching moment of closing night was Prince’s welcome to Vincent as part of the theater family. Cue tears. It’s obvious that Vincent has done his job well, as the Shakespearean play was learned by the cast only six weeks before opening night. It’s clear that under the guidance of Vincent, they’ll know exactly what to do.
If you were lucky enough to have seen the play, you know that you didn’t only see it. You were transported into it.