So, here we are in tech week. For someone like yours truly, who has been treading the boards since the Jurassic era, this is familiar stuff. Lots of waiting around for tech cues to be nailed down, issues with props and costumes, finding your way around the theater. Long stretches of tedium alternating with the adrenaline rush of performance. Nothing you haven’t seen before folks, move on.
For many of my fellow cast members, though, this is all still pretty new. That’s because the show is Winning Juliet, a Shakespeare Festival St. Louis production that uses an updated gloss on Romeo and Juliet to deliver an anti-bullying message, and (with the exception of me and two other actors), the cast members are all from local high schools. Their experience levels are varied, but what’s impressing me is how dedicated and, well, professional they all are.
This is an interesting script. It makes extensive use of projected images and video. There are musical numbers, complete with choreography, and multiple scene changes that have to (and will) move very fast. They’re all doing a great job—as good as the work I’ve encountered in some professional shows I’ve done, musical or otherwise. It leaves me hopeful for the future of theatre. O brave new world, that has such actors in’t (to paraphrase Mr. Shakespeare).
In other words the kids, to quote an old Who lyric, are alright.
Not all of the reflections provoked by this show are so sunny, though. It deals, after all, with a serious subject. More on that in my next post.