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Star Crossed Lovers Take Stage at Langley

Theatre department presents ‘Romeo and Juliet.’

Juliet, played by Langley High School junior Kathleen Welch, tries to fend off the early affections of Romeo, played by senior Chris Paul, during the school’s production of the play.

Juliet, played by Langley High School junior Kathleen Welch, tries to fend off the early affections of Romeo, played by senior Chris Paul, during the school’s production of the play. Photo by Alex McVeigh.

— During Langley High School’s inaugural theater tech class, several students had a vision: Shakespeare’s character Juliet giving her famous speech on a scaffolding. The school’s upcoming production of "Romeo and Juliet" took on a new look after that idea, transforming the setting of the play from an Italian city to an apocalyptic future city.

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Romeo, played by Langley High School senior Chris Paul, thinks about approaching the balcony with Juliet, played by junior Kathleen Welch, part of the school’s upcoming performance of "Romeo and Juliet."

"We were looking for a way in tech class to learn about building scaffolding, and once we came up with the idea of Juliet on a scaffolding instead of a balcony, we went from there," said senior Alex Swann, head of the tech crew for the play. "In addition to the scaffolding, we had to build a lot of flats with a very futuristic, industrial feel to it. We wanted the set to feel very oppressive, and it’s been one of the biggest sets I’ve ever worked on."

Gray bare metal streetlights and metal piping are surrounded by backgrounds containing multiple shades of gray, but nothing else. Though the play features a different setting than the source material, the students will be performing the play’s classic language.

"I’ve done Shakespeare before, so I knew the language would be a challenge, but this is my first lead," said senior Chris Paul, who plays the role of Romeo. "It’s one thing to get used to it, to find the rhythm, but it’s also important to find the meaning, so it comes out sounding as natural as possible."

Senior Kaitryn Evans, who plays the nurse, says she enjoys the role because she enjoys the nurse’s humorous nature, as well as her ability to get serious when it matters. Evans says many cast members are able to find common ground with their characters.

"I think the play has been cast very well, most of our roles in some way match the personality, which helps everything look more natural," she said. "The characters’ actions in the play are all something the person playing them could do, except for the killing of course."

The play features a large number of freshman, one of the highest turnouts from that class in years. The large cast also had to learn to work together as a crowd during some of the larger scenes

"With such a big ensemble, there are a lot of scenes, like the brawls and the parties, that have to be very organized in order to look chaotic," said stage manager Shannon Keen, a senior. "This was my first major play as a stage manager, and it was a very enlightening process. It’s fun to work with the actors and tech department and see the things they go through to do their jobs."

"Romeo and Juliet" will be performed at the Langley High School auditorium Nov. 15, 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. More information is available at www.saxonstage.com.