Palatine High School plays with time, destiny in 'Steampunk Romeo and Juliet'
Palatine High School plays with time, destiny in re-imagined 'Romeo and Juliet'
What if we only have so much time? What if something or someone controls time? Are we really in charge of our own destiny?
Those are some of the concepts Palatine High School students are exploring in their fall play this year -- a steampunk version of "Romeo and Juliet." The show is a culmination of a vision of directors/teachers Jessica Means of Schaumburg and Doug Gross of Woodstock.
For the past three years, Means and Gross have discussed wanting the students to experience Shakespeare and "Romeo and Juliet" was always on their short list of plays. When they chatted about how best to approach the dense, formal and challenging play, they knew they wanted to modernize it.
"We wanted the students to see how truly the story and themes were timeless. At first we discussed merging a variety of time periods to show how the concepts of love, violence, hatred, revenge, miscommunication and impulsivity are still central to our lives," said Means.
Then, Means said, she began to fall in love with the costumes/concepts of steampunk.
"Steampunk toys with the idea of invention, time, cogs, gears, creativity, a mashup of the Victorian era with modern elements, and there, the play was re-imagined," she said. "Upon running with the idea of time, and pairing it with Shakespeare's written art, we began asking, 'What if we only have so much time? What if something/someone controls time? Are we really in charge of our own destiny?'"
From those ruminations, they created a character -- the Clockmaker -- who in essence is fate personified.
"Fate controls our time and when time stops … our physical journey ends. As you watch our production, we hope that you think about the aspect of destiny; how we all play a role in the journey of others, and the timelessness of what makes our clock tick: love, dreams, friendship and romance," Means said.
In addition to directors Gross and Means, Kaitlyn Krause is the student director.
In the cast are: Danny Hollander, Natalie Antonik, Nate Carlson, Jessica Gul, Megan Losch, Bronte Phipps, Molly Mensch, Cole Keller, Teagan Capek, Justin Davis, Keely McEnery, Tyrus Angeles, Daniela Ugalde, Gabriel Minchev, Adam Mason, Jackson Kist, Bob Di Leo, Jakob Reitsma, Jocie Rodriguez and Gio Llanos-Hernanez.
The students also learned the art of stage combat from fight choreographer Tony Pellegrino. "They learned about different types of swords, the rules of fighting and the act of fighting," Means said.
"Steampunk Romeo and Juliet: A modern twist on a timeless classic" will be presented at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15; Friday, Oct. 16; and Saturday, Oct. 17, in Palatine High School's Altergott Auditorium, 1111 N. Rohlwing Road, Palatine. Tickets cost $5 for students, $7 for adults. For tickets, call Palatine High School at (847) 755-1600 or email email@example.com. Tickets can be ordered in advance or will be available at the door.
For a preview of the show, see the trailer on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Be0wO6Yxht0.