Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? According to the Bard, probably not. This is why the Rude Mechanicals have chosen to present “Romeo and Juliet” in its original form doublets and all.
The Rude Mechanicals are an independent theatrical student group under the University Activities Center. “We are geared towards people who are not theater majors,” said co-producer Devon Seybert.
The student-based group says that their aim is to remain as true as possible to Shakespeare”s First Quarto. “When the play was originally performed, it was all about the audience. They got much more involved by yelling things at the actors. In a sense, it was more like a rock concert,” said Aaron Sherry, director of the production. “Today”s audience sit politely in their seats and refrain from talking once the curtain has been raised.”
Sherry”s audience preference will hopefully experience the same passion he had for the story from an early age rather than just be interactive. “The real reason I chose “Romeo and Juliet” was because I have been in love with this play for a long time and the play is a personal purging of my own Romeo and Juliet story,” he said.
Although these reasons would have sufficed, it may not be enough for reluctant theater goers (read: The boyfriends of Shakespeare fans). For them, Sherry offers the confidence that he too is a fan of action and in this case, the sword fights.
As one proficiently skilled in sword fighting, Sherry guarantees that a high level of professionalism that will go into each choreographed sword fight. Some would say, however, that the sword fights are but an added bonus to the compelling and romantic imagery found in the Bard”s masterpiece.
“Each day I realize something different in the play,” said Senior Dan Krauth, who plays Romeo. “For example, every time Romeo and Juliet meet, it”s at dawn and this says something about love being fresh. Then there is the reiteration of allusions. In other words, one character”s speech will echo another character”s speech. Occasionally I will hear my character say something which alludes to one of Mercutio”s lines or one of Juliet”s lines.”
Not only is the language of the text unique and beautiful, Krauth contends, “It is one of the most lustful plays Shakespeare has ever written,” he said.
“More than anything, we want the audience to realize that the story pertains to today fighting about something that is not important,” said Seybert.