The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

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A Timeless Tragedy

Romeo and Juliet provides a cautionary tale
Juliet, played by Ava Shipp, begs her mother, played by Saxon Mosely, to stop her impending marriage.

As Romeo, played by St. Mark’s senior Miller Wendorf, falls to the ground with a hopeless “thud”, Juliet, played by senior Ava Shipp, awakens and a look of horror crosses her face.  

Soon after realizing her beloved has passed, she gives him a final kiss and stabs herself in the St. Mark’s black box theater. The famous tragedy of Romeo and Juliet was brought to life Nov. 3 – Nov. 5, directed and staged by the St. Mark’s drama department under the direction of new drama teacher Katy Tye. The cast included Hockaday and St. Mark’s Upper School students.

One of the most striking aspects of the play was the unusual theme: steampunk.

“We wanted to pay homage to the period Romeo and Juliet takes place in, but also modernize it for the audience so that they still feel like they can connect with the characters and the story,” Tye said. “Steampunk just fit the bill. It has that Victorian dated look to it, but still pulls in some modern elements.”

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Tye also wanted to ensure that the actors felt connected to Shakespeare’s language.

“For my first play here, I wanted something the students could resonate with and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ seemed like the Shakespeare play to go with,” Tye said.

Shipp thinks she relates to Juliet because of their similar ages.

“I think it’s relevant that we are all around the same age as the characters in the play,” Shipp said.

However, junior Saxon Moseley, who played Lady Capulet, saw the challenge in grasping a Shakespearean character.

“I think one of the hardest things is figuring out what kind of character you are,” Moseley said. “You could take it in a completely different way and just go crazy. It’s hard to decide what you can do to make the character your own.” 

Shipp said she worked hard to understand the technical aspects of Shakespearean dialect.

Ava Shipp, as Juliet, grapples with the loss of her cousin Tybalt and her love for Romeo, his killer.

“It’s almost like speaking another language,” Shipp said. “Certain words and the way things are said just do not translate to how we speak today. Inner monologue has been a big thing to help me figure out what I’m saying in my own words.”

Relating to Tye’s hope that the play would resonate with both the actors and the audience, Shipp and Moseley both see the play as a cautionary tale for teenagers.

“Teenagers of this time still need to think through things and also need to realize that while things may seem very large and big in their lives, there are other ways to cope,” Moseley said.

Shipp points to the naiveté of both Romeo and Juliet as the trigger for their infamous tragedy in the cautionary tale.  

“A lot of people think of it as the first love story, but, in reality, Romeo and Juliet are very young and don’t know a lot about relationships or love when they first meet each other,” Shipp said.

Tye said she picked the play specifically with the hope that the raw emotions would strike a chord with the young actors and audience.

“Shakespeare’s plays really have a lot of human emotion running through them, and especially that of teenagers,” Tye said.

Moseley believes the play not only holds a message for teenagers, but for parents as well.  

“I feel like for parents in this society, or any society, one message would be to be active in the lives of their children,” Moseley said.

The play not only entertained the audience, but also united Hockaday and St. Mark’s students to work together and bring attention to one of Shakespeare’s most famous works and its modern-day connections.  

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About the Contributor
Danya Risam-Chandi
Danya Risam-Chandi, Features Editor