I got something to say … about Romeo and Juliet put on by the Reedy Point Players – I saw it last night and it was pretty darn good – well worth your entertainment dollar. I’m going to see it again next Friday – really, I am.
If you’ve read my notes before, you know that I tend to not mention a whole lot of names, but rather focus on pone or two aspects of a production. With that said – Erin Miller.
I hadn’t seen Erin in a year or two, so I was glad to see her back at Reedy Player. This time though it was as a director. Her courageous direction of the Shakespeare classic captivated me.
She is very clever.
She used an incredibly austere set that really worked. The center of it was empty with the majority of the action taking place in that space. She built two, three feet high platforms with railings and placed them up stage left and right with a smaller platform (about 6 inches in the center to connect the two). While it work great for all the classic Romeo and Juliet lines; it wowed as the mausoleum. Just wowed – Artistic Austere and Creepy.
The set had the effect of a West Side Story kind of vibe.
The West Side Story vibe, hmm; funny I should mention that because Erin’s version takes place in New York.
Another courageous choice she made was tinkering with the script and the setting. She and Kevin Austra (who also played the ill-fated Mercutio) updated sections. They added hand guns instead of swords, introduced cell phones, and threw in some radio broadcasts for good measure. I won’t tell you much more because it’ll ruin the surprise. But it really worked well – I mean really.
All this had the effect (or is affect, I always get those two confused) of pulling the audience in and at the same time, clarifying points.
A couple of shout outs.
Gina Velardi – A great Juliet. She was determined, naïve, and appropriately tragic. She made you really care about her.
Kevin Austra – An enormous presence on the stage. His timing is wonderful, and his motions forced you t focus.
Ruth Brittain – I had never seen her before last night. But, man, she can act.
The last time I saw Patrick Ruesgegger was in the film “The Reprogramming Of Jeremy,” he did his usual great job, and his diction was superb.
Gunnar Funk – I had never seen Gunnar Funk before, but really enjoyed his Romeo. His death scene was first rate.
Gail Wagner – Was her usual superb self. I love watching her.
I’ve gone this far so I should probably mention everyone.
Matthew Lovlie – Okay Mr. Lovely is another one I love to watch; he gets it. Great job.
Jeff Fentrees – I had never seen Jeff before either, but his explanation of the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt was great.
Max O’Neil – I had never seen him before either, but man, if his goal was to come off as hot head, it worked. You know those people who are just and they are going to go off, you don’t when, but it’s going to happen? He did that great with Tybalt. Loved it!
Sam Vernooy – Sam had a hard job as Paris. That’s a more difficult role than you think. Paris wants to love Juliet, but he has no chance. She barely knows he is alive after Romeo shows up. He did it very well. And he died great!
Sam Dressler – He was great. As the omnipresent whipping boy, his timing was excellent, Thing about Sam is he always remembers his lines.
Lisa Coruzzi – I love listening to Ms. Coruzzi. She has a tenor in her voice that captivates when on stage. I wish the mayor had more line. Anyway, she was a gem.
Ken Guerino – In his first show at Reedy Point, Mr. Guerino held his own with all the vets. He knew his lines, hit his marks, and most importantly, enunciated wonderfully.
Lisa Velardi – I wish I could have heard more from her. She’s a good actor, but I didn’t see enough of her. What I saw, I liked.
MVP Award – Mother and daughter team of Jeanne and Kate Jerzak walloped it as the stage crew. Everything showed up and left the stage on time. BRAVO!
I guess that’s it. If I forgot anything or anyone, it’s because I’m an idiot!. It’s not you, it’s me.