Shakes Ripe with Teen Themes


Senior Todd Blakely auditions for a part in the drama department’s production of Romeo and Juliet. The performances will be held in April.

Nick Johnson, Staff Writer

Auditions for the spring production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet were held by the Drama department on January 12 and 13. The auditions were open to the entire student body.

The production will open April 22 and run through April 25.

This is not the first time auditions have been open to the entire school, according to Drama teacher Jamie Donohoe. “We recognize that there are some good actors out there that would enjoy being part of an extra curricular play, but they just don’t have time in their schedule to be taking drama [class],” he said.

This production of Romeo and Juliet will be set in the 1980’s, with Shakespeare’s lines delivered in the context of that decade’s technology, architecture and fashion.

This production is a return to familiar territory for Donohoe. “We did do Romeo and Juliet, actually it was the first  play that I directed, about 5 years ago. It was modern as well, but it was more of a timeless modern.  There was some graffiti; Woodshop made these awesome skateboard ramps that were usable. It was cool,” he said.

For freshman Florian Michael-Schwarzinger, this was his first audition for a high school play. He was given one of Romeo’s monologues to read for his audition. “I actually think it could have gone a lot better. I felt like I didn’t have as much emotion in my voice as I probably could have,” he said.

Lauren Raff, a veteran of drama auditions, performed monologues as Juliet’s nurse and Mercucio. The third year drama student said she found the audition difficult, however. “I think I did okay. I felt like some of the characters that he gave me were a bit challenging for me and I didn’t know how to play them, and I wasn’t sure what he was looking for, but I think I did the best I could,” she said.

“For the audition he [Donohoe] let us choose one monologue that we wanted to do out of 4. We read it for him and then he’d give us another scene and he’d just say what he liked. If he really liked your monologue and he liked the character that you did, you possibly could be up for that character,” Raff said.

Donohoe did not have a specific agenda for what he wanted to find for the lead roles. “As a director, I don’t want to limit myself, go into an audition with a certain vision for Romeo. Some directors do. They have a specific version, but I don’t. In general, the Romeo is going to have to be one of our strongest actors in the sense that they’re going to have to realistically go through an entire slew of emotions from being giddily in love to feeling completely lost, so if you run a gambit of teenage emotions they’re going to have to do that realistically. That’s a tall order. Juliet is also going to have to do the same thing, but she’s going to have to start more in a place of being naive and innocent. She’s going to have to quickly catch up to Romeo as far as these experiences,” he said.

Michael-Schwarzinger believes Shakespeare offers a wide variety of experiences, some familiar, so not so much. ” I feel like there are aspects of it that they can [connect with] like the emotions of love. Everyone can relate to that at some point in their life, but getting into sword fights with other people, I don’t think anyone at Campolindo can really relate to that,” he said.

“I’m interested in having it brought back to Campo because I think there’s some things that Campo kids can connect with directly, beyond the fact that teenage love is happening. But [also] the pressures of being seen a certain way and having to hold up an image. I think Campo kids can connect with that on a real primal level. It’s a good read. Every story that you read whether it be Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Star Wars, whatever, there’s Shakespeare in it,” Donohoe added.