Naperville North’s fall play, Romeo and Juliet, takes the stage

Photo by courtesy of NNHS Theatre

Tessa Devine, Staff Writer

This weekend, Naperville North’s theater department is retelling a timeless tale of young love, loss and loathing in the auditorium.  

Often referred to as one of the greatest love stories of all time, or perhaps the most tragic, Romeo and Juliet is about two young, star-crossed lovers. The soulmates are caught in the midst of their feuding families and ultimately reap the consequences of their unresolved conflict. 

This play, written by William Shakespeare in the late 1500s, has since been retold in numerous playhouses and theaters. With several film adaptations in both traditional and modern interpretations, Romeo and Juliet has stood the test of time and proven to be relatable regardless of culture and era. Director Andrew Simon believes this play has remained timeless due to its take on universal topics like love, passion and hatred. 

“The themes and the issues the characters face [in this play] are still really relevant. I think high school actors in this day and age can connect to a lot of them,” Simon said. “400 years later and they’re still as timeless and as relevant to our lives [as they ever were.]” 

Simon decided to put on this show as an opportunity to challenge the student actors. Shakespeare requires a different set of skills than other modern productions; the cast spent the first few weeks of rehearsal learning how to read Shakespeare and working through the language to ensure they understood what the lines meant.   

“The language is the trickiest part. You can’t fake Shakespeare, you have to be able to keep it as it’s written or else you lose the rhythm,” Simon said. “The most important part is making sure the audience understands what you’re saying, so the actors have to know what they’re saying.” 

Simon also saw the show as a possible teaching opportunity. Freshmen in English 1 at Naperville North read Romeo and Juliet every year in their classes. Simon thinks it’s important for these students to have a chance to see Romeo and Juliet the way Shakespeare originally envisioned: performed on stage. As a result, the cast and crew are performing a full preview this Friday morning for the freshman and sophomore classes.

This production is especially meaningful to sophomore Mark Vanderwater, who plays Lord Capulet. He was first exposed to Shakespeare in middle school. He believes that between the actors, tech crew and costumes, their creation is worth seeing. 

“It’s fun to come to the shows. We put on shows to be entertaining; it’s enjoyable because that’s the goal,” Vanderwater said. “You should always support your fellow students at North. It allows us to keep doing what we love to do.”

Romeo and Juliet will be showing this Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. Student tickets are $5 and can be bought online or at the ticket offices before showings for $6.