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McLean High School Stages Convincing ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Leila Giles reviews McLean High School's performance of "Romeo and Juliet."

Vanessa Bretas as Juliet (photo by Julia Katz).

A story filled with sword fights, romance, perilous plans, comedy, drama and tragedy opened last weekend. Was it the Thanksgiving blockbuster movie? No, it was “Romeo and Juliet,” performed by McLean High School students.

“Romeo and Juliet,” one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, has inspired many films and books over the past 400 years. Who doesn’t know the story of Romeo, who sneaks into his enemies’ party to see his crush, Rosaline, only to change the directions of his affections toward Juliet, the daughter of his family’s foe? Misunderstandings and hatred soon lead the forbidden romance down a tragic path.

Vanessa Bretas portrayed Juliet Capulet with sweetness and intensity during the first act, clearly demonstrating her fascination with Romeo Montague. Michael Robinson showed good understanding of Romeo and was unafraid to move around the stage.

Juliet’s faithful nurse was played by Kate Marlette, whose lighthearted discussions and rambling monologues added a level of fun. Charlie Cook also created amusing moments through his enthusiastic speeches as Mercutio.

Nina Scholl was believable as Juliet’s concerned mother, Lady Capulet, and the Capulets’ servant, Angelica, was adorably portrayed by wide-eyed Leila Goldstein. Henry Jimenez’s expressive face as Friar Lawrence clearly communicated his belief that everyone around him was crazy. The Greek-style chorus was also notable for its skillful synchronization.
Some rushed lines, overdramatic or expressionless portrayals and odd movements detracted from the show.

Elaina Kaiser, Kate Marlette, Talia Roth and crew fashioned elaborate curls and slicked-back hairstyles, which added beauty to the show, as did period costumes sewn and altered by Sara Lavenhar. Although music choices for the party scene were slightly gloomy, they were offset by other factors such as simple but suitable props and a punctual stage crew.

The cast of McLean High’s “Romeo and Juliet” showed a strong understanding of Shakespeare’s language and true enthusiasm for the story of “star-cross’d lovers.”

By Washington Post Editors  |  November 25, 2008; 10:12 AM ET
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