Silverado Stagehawks perform unique ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Look ‘behind the scenes’ at how the theatre department prepares to put on a play

Fatimah Williamson, Arts Editor

The Silverado Stagehawks’ first live performance since before the pandemic was a creative take on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” This production had been altered to feature a more dynamic contrast between the Montague and Capulet families, using the styles of ’90s grunge and ’90s prep.

In early November, the cast took to the stage and gave it their all. However, what we saw on stage was more than just a play; it was also the magnificent culmination of hard work and dedication. This work is what makes student productions great, and it deserves to be acknowledged and appreciated.

Student life is already hectic without extra-curricular activities, and theatre is a big commitment in general. Despite academic pressure, these students are able to participate in a collaborative project that they can enjoy and share with others. Studying lines, learning choreography, and getting into character are a few of the practices that make a student actor shine. 

A few of the actors featured in the play share their perspective on preparation for the event.

Junior Summer (Sam) Martin, who played the Prince, enjoyed both independent practice as well as helping others with lines. 

“It’s fun to be able to be loud and big on stage,” Martin said.

Student actors worked exceptionally hard to make the performance memorable. Sophomore Virgil Valdez recalls the extra work he put in to get into his character, Paris. Watching other renditions of the play to see how other actors perform, and reviewing audible lines helped him prepare for his role.

“Body language tells a lot about the character,” Valdez said.

 Not only have the students worked hard, but the advisor and director have, too. With the help of Dr. Tracy Hunsaker advising and Myles Lee directing, the production was organized and students were guided through their roles with expertise.

Lee, who directed the production, is an alumni of Silverado. His role in the production of “Romeo and Juliet” was multifaceted. He edited lines, choreographed fight scenes, blocked scenes, and more. 

Dr. Hunsaker divulges the effort it takes to organize a play production, explaining that it takes from 10-20 extra hours of work per week. 

“Planning must take place and be carried out for auditions, casting, directing of rehearsals, including stage blocking, costuming, makeup, theater tech planning and direction, props and sets, programs, advertising, and communication with everyone involved, including with the school,” Hunsaker said. 

Because it is a story that high school students may relate to, and it is free to use and adapt, “Romeo and Juliet” was the story chosen for the fall play. However, this production includes an interesting twist. 

“My students are making this unique by placing it in the 1990s,” Hunsaker said. “In our adaptation, the Montagues are dressed in ’90s grunge style, and the Capulets are dressed in ’90s prep style.” 

Theatre is a way for students to be creative and try new things. They can explore different ideas and express different emotions and creative intentions through performance as well as master the technical side of theatre. 

“Theater is an expressive discipline,” Hunsaker explained. “It is work, especially with something like Shakespeare. I hope students can learn how to work hard at theater, especially with something that takes the highest level of commitment just to learn the lines and deliver them. I hope they will gain an appreciation for Shakespeare and for the discipline and work involved in theatrical productions.”

Playing the roles of both Montague and the nurse, senior Pearl Hunsaker describes an important part of acting onstage as being secure in your role. Knowing enough of your own part to make up for anything lacking can help you move forward in the scene.

“I am definitely proud of getting to scream as the nurse,” Hunsaker said.

“Romeo and Juliet” was performed in the Silverado theatre on campus on Nov. 4-6. The production was a stunning display of thoughtful organization and lively acting. 

The use of music in between scenes was a clever way to keep up the cinematic atmosphere when transitioning between stage setups and stationing actors before resuming the play. The costuming accurately and creatively represented ’90s punk and prep, as well as the unique personalities of each character. Each actor’s performance was well-rehearsed and had its own unique personality and depth.

The story of “Romeo and Juliet,” portrayed by Silverado students, was a performance to be remembered. Students and directors/advisors showed attention to detail and perseverance in the execution of the play, and they produced a refreshing performance for families, friends, and staff.