ACCT Presents Romeo and Juliet at Wesley Hall
Aldersgate Church Community Theatre (ACCT) will present its first-ever Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet, opening tonight at Wesley Hall.
Director Heather Sanderson of Fort Hunt says Romeo and Juliet is all about kids and their relationships with their parents and each other.
"Even though the play was written over 400 years ago, its themes are as relevant today as they were then,” Sanderson explained. “That’s why the setting for this play is what I’m calling ‘timeless’. We’ve incorporated modern day conveniences, such as iPods, and razor scooters, and vacuum cleaners, with devices from Shakespeare’s times, such as a quill and inkpot. Plus, we’ve taken Shakespeare’s exact words and situations and done what he did with them all that time ago – made them funny! If you think Romeo & Juliet is all doom and gloom, think again. Parts of it will make you cry, but a lot of it is very comical.”
For Sanderson, making Shakespeare accessible to local youth is a mission that stems from her own experience as a student studying Shakespeare for the first time back in England.
“Our English teacher, Miss Pike, who looked exactly as her name sounded, was bound and determined to put us off Shakespeare for life,” she said. “So now, I’m bound and determined to do the exact opposite and leave no child untouched by the joy that is Shakespeare. In Hamlet’s words, I guess it’s some sort of ‘sweet revenge’!”
One of the teens who got her first introduction to Shakespeare at the age of eight is 17-year-old Mount Vernon resident Emily Whitworth, who plays Juliet. According to Sanderson, Emily, who has twice appeared at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington D.C. “infuses the role of Juliet with an energy which I think will have parents in the audience smiling. Her Juliet is your typical middle schooler -- mood swings, stubbornness, impetuous behavior, sassiness and all".
West Potomac High School senior Alex Wong plays Romeo, and his fellow WPHS Theatre Arts classmates Joe Quinn and Eddie Perez will join him onstage in supporting roles. Other West Potomac students involved off stage are Eliza Lore (Assistant Director), Morgan Peasley (videography), Margie Woods (videography), Jessica Moreno (costumes) and Hannah Lau (lights). Rounding out the West Potomac contingency is the school's English Department head and Shakespeare Studies teacher Colin O'Grady, who plays the role of Prince Escalus at selected performances.
A panel discussion on the subject of teen suicide will take place following the 2 p.m. matinee on March 11.
All shows will take place in Wesley Hall at Aldersgate United Methodist Church.