Milford showing Romeo and Juliet…with a twist


Julia Kanak

Performers Ryan Syeed (left), Ben Sanko (middle), and Aubrey Snavley (right) work on a scene from the show (Photos courtesy of Julia Kanak).

Danielle Borst, Staff Writer

Creative classes are not a rarity at Milford High school with classes from painting and drawing to things like band and choir. However, one of the classes running is a bit different. It is called Play Production and the class will end its year, not with a test, but with something quite a bit more exciting: a performance. This year, the class has chosen a parody of a Shakespeare classic, called the Seussification of Romeo and Juliet. The 45 minute show begins with the two narrators of the story, Thing One and Thing Two, welcoming the audience to the show and giving an introduction to the prologue. The prologue then introduces the play of Romeo and Juliet in a Dr. Seuss rhyme scheme. Throughout the play, the characters use Dr. Seuss attributes to put on Romeo and Juliet. From unusual instruments to obscure settings, one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies is given an air of silly absurdity.
The semester long class is almost entirely student led. Megan Weeks teaches the class but gives students as much creative liberty as possible to allow them to shape the play into their own. At the beginning of the semester, Weeks had the class read through two plays then asked them to decide which of the two they would like to put on. After careful consideration, the students put it to a vote and selected the one the majority thinks would be best. From there, the class had to choose a director. From her brilliant production ideas to her amount of previous stage experience, Senior Julia Kanak was the obvious choice. Not only was she extremely qualified, Kanak had already produced her eighth grade theater class show called The Perfect Ending.
Of course this is quite different from a middle school production. “I had a co-director and our teacher was very involved.” Kanak says about the differences between directing the two plays. “This time around I’m making almost every decision by myself. I’ve had to find my voice and stand my ground throughout the process.”
Casting came next and Weeks had her students perform a partner scene from a Shakespeare play to prepare them for the play they had chosen. With Romeo and Juliet being the inspiration for their show, most students performed scenes from Romeo and Juliet, but two Macbeth scenes were given out to the senior partners who had read the play in their 11th grade English classes. From there, the students were tasked with making their scene their own. They had to cut and rewrite lines for comedic timing. All of the partnerships succeeded beyond expectations, such as the pair who began the famous balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet by singing Taylor Swift’s “Love Story”.
As that chapter of the class came to a close, it was time to cast Seussification. Weeks and Kanak teamed up to discuss who might be best fit for what, using the students’ partner scenes as a base for what a certain person may be more suited for from the dreary Lord Monotone to the hostile Tybalt. The rest of the class waited anxiously for the results, then finally, Weeks revealed the list. With Peyton Wheeler playing Juliet, Ben Mondrush as Romeo and Emma Blascyk and Danielle Borst as Narrators One and Two, the play was ready to begin.
Preparation began, both onstage and offstage. The performers memorized their lines and were separated into jobs of costuming, hair and makeup, set, props and publicity. Performer Kate Freed states that her favorite part is “the creative opportunities that are offered with creating props. There isn’t a certain way it has to look and it’s nice.” When they were not onstage “growing and discovering their characters”, as Kanak says, the students were discussing the slew of other responsibilities necessary to put on a show.
The play has since come together and the class is ready to show Milford how hard they’ve worked. Blascyk says, “I can’t wait to act out something people haven’t seen before. It’s such a cool experience and it makes me happy to know our hard work paid off.” Everything is ready to go, the only thing left to do is for you to buy tickets! The play will be at MHS Little Theatre, May 6 and 7 at 7 pm, where tickets will be sold for $7 exclusively at the door. They hope you’ll enjoy it 100%!