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Fairfax Stages 'Romeo and Juliet'

<bt>Shakespeare's tragic love story, "Romeo and Juliet," has been done and overdone over the years, but Fairfax High School reinvented the show with a new fervor. Their star-crossed lovers met in the typical Elizabethan setting with subtle changes that made the show worthwhile. Many of the smaller, typically male roles of the show were converted

into female roles. Each one of these cameo actresses did an innovative job of maintaining the essence of their character while adding a new spice to the story.

The first act of Fairfax's show was riveting, mainly due to spirited Mercutio (Eric Reynolds), hilarious Nurse (Maggie Parks) and vicious Tybalt (Justin Vitalis). The Nurse was a marvelous comedic actress, although in her character's bumbling excitement her words sometimes got lost. Her description of the antics of Juliet (Allison Korb) caused roaring laughter, as did the rest of her character.

The eloquent Reynolds, though struggling off-stage with a nasty case of laryngitis, completely overcame it to put on a wonderful performance. He made his problem part of the character and kept the audience alive and awake with his fantastical speeches. Vitalis was a perfect Tybalt: dark, impulsive, and angry.

Romeo (David Hazel) put on a creative performance, showing Romeo in a new light, impetuous and swept away by the moment. Korb, as Juliet, made the story amazing by truly seeming to be the confused and passionate 14-year-old girl searching for answers.

The second act began rough, as the characters seemed to rush their lines, and some of the cast lost the initially powerful chemistry.

The tragic death of the lovers wasn't seen from all members of the audience, but the tension in the room was thick and could be felt by all. The final moment, in which the two feuding fathers (Tyler Robinson and Zach Jones) embraced, was truly affecting and encapsulated the true meaning of Shakespeare's tragedy.

The Fairfax Players' use of space, the dress precisely mirroring Elizabethan times and the mastery of Shakespearean language made for a fast-paced, excellent performance. Once again, Shakespeare's young, tragic heroes sacrificed themselves, but maybe this time just a little more meaningfully than ever before.