Story Theater Co. stages ‘Romeo and Juliet’ adaptation that's 'accessible to modern audience'
With a cast and crew of more than 20 young people, Story Theater Co. will perform “Romeo and Juliet” March 31, April 1 and April 2.
Adapted by local Brad Dell, William Shakespeare’s classic play is being staged in a way to make it more accessible to modern audiences while remaining true to the original action and language.
Under the direction of Morgan Reetz, the play features Ember Biggs as Romeo and Chloe Berns-Schweingruber as Juliet.
“We have all the same iconic scenes and settings that everyone recognizes and loves from the play,” Reetz said in a news release. “But our script is unique in the way that you'll get to see ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in both a more modern eye as well as that classic Shakespearean look.”
High school junior Amelia Yoder, who plays Romeo’s friend Benvolio, said she appreciates the way the play’s format parallels Romeo and Juliet’s story together.
“It starts out kind of modern and as you get further and further into the play you’re immersed further into the Shakespearean world, until by the end it’s fully Shakespearean,” Yoder said in the release. “So you kind of get to fall more into the dreamy world as Romeo and Juliet fall more in love with each other.”
Romeo and Juliet is 'more than just a love story'
Featuring swordplay, wit and romance, “Romeo and Juliet” is a tragedy involving two powerful rival families as Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet fall in love.
“There’s a lot more happening than just a love story between two kids,” Yoder said. “My previous knowledge was mostly just the extent of what we went over in ninth grade English, and we didn’t even cover the whole play. So I knew the gist of it, but not many of the details. It has a lot of really interesting scenes and characters.”
Other memorable characters add layers to the story, Reetz said, including Juliet’s Nurse, Mercutio, Tybalt and Friar Lawrence.
High school junior Nate VanDyk, who plays Friar Lawrence, appreciates the way Romeo and Juliet’s story arc influences each character’s path.
“Each character kind of has their own plan within the play,” VanDyk said in the release. “But they’re all still connected and many plans go awry, depending on what Romeo and Juliet do.”
Director Reetz said there are themes within the story that gives it a timeless appeal.
‘“Romeo and Juliet’ teaches us that hatred, anger and division will inevitably cause chaos, conflict and destruction,” Reetz said in the release. “As we're currently in a time with a heavy presence of themes like hate and division, it is important for us to see stories like this to remind us all how important it is to come together.”
Flexible ticket pricing makes play accessible to everyone
Performances will be at 7 p.m. March 31 and April 1, and 2 p.m. April 2 at the Iowa State University Innovation Center auditorium, 606 Bissell Road.
Ticket pricing is flexible for this show, with audience members naming their own price.
“Because we do not want ticket cost to be a barrier to our show, we are leaving it up to each patron to choose a ticket price that is a good fit for you,” according to STC's website.
Seating is limited, however, so advance tickets are recommended. Admission will be welcomed at the time of the show if seats are still available.
Ronna Faaborg covers business and the arts for the Ames Tribune. Reach her at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Ames Tribune: Story Theater Company presents 'Romeo and Juliet' at Iowa State