Renowned Shakespearean scholar Harold Bloom has described “Romeo and Juliet” as “unmatched, in Shakespeare and in the world’s literature, as a vision of an uncompromising mutual love that perishes of its own idealism and intensity.”
One can only imagine his reaction to playwright Alyson Williams’ skewing of the world’s greatest tragic love story into a comedy, but catching a few moments preview of Lowndes High School Off-Broadway’s “Drop Dead, Juliet,” the audience reaction will likely be laughter.
In this comedy, Shakespeare is swayed to cast females in the roles of Mercutio and Tybalt.
It is these character’s sword play that intensifies the circumstances leading to Romeo and Juliet’s downfall.
Here, actresses Elyssa Pate and Kayla McCray enter into a comic slow-motion duel as the rest of the slow-motion cast cheers them on, all to the epic soundtrack from “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Romeo and Juliet (played by Jimmy Dao and Noel Carter) attempt to intercede which still leads to the fateful end of the original sword fight, only with a comic twist.
Under the direction of Phyllis Childree, LHS Off-Broadway director, this show appears to be as much fun to perform as it will be for audiences to watch.
“Drop Dead, Juliet” should also be viewed as the first of two parts in LHS Off-Broadway’s deconstruction of “Romeo and Juliet.”
Next month, Childree leads her students in “11 Variations of Friar John’s Failure,” an intriguing play that looks at several alternative outcomes for “Romeo and Juliet” had Friar John taken a different direction rather than the one Shakespeare set for him.
For this weekend, audiences should prepare to laugh and help LHS Off-Broadway raise funds. Saturday’s performance includes appetizers; Sunday, desserts.
THE CAST: Noel Carter, Joi Jones, Dylan Schindler, Lindsey Scarborough, Kennedy Coleman, Dana Rumker, Kayla McCray, Autumn Kulka, Henny Hari, Noah Dalton, Allison Souris, Mikala Williams, Denique Northern, Brianna Williams, Austin May, Cidavia Hepburn, Brandon Chandler, Jimmy Dao, Alex Spradling, Elyssa Pate, Joanna Jasinski, Will Black, Ashlyn Parker, Anali Carr, Aliyah Vialdores, Anna Butcher, Kasey Callahan, Mary Mason Beale, Paxton Joiner, Shainice Bridges, Marchetta Crawford, Josh Duvall, Haley Aguero, Casey Van Nortwick, Avery Sirmans, Aerial Livingston, Dena Rumker.
DIRECTION, PRODUCTION: Phyllis Childree, director; Heather Adkins, Christian Dean-Fiskal, Gloria Stanley, tech crew.
Lowndes High School Off-Broadway presents “Drop Dead, Juliet.”
When: Saturday, Sept. 8, with appetizers at 6 p.m., show at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Sept. 9, with desserts at 2 p.m., show at 3 p.m.
Where: Auditorium, Lowndes High School, off Norman Drive.
More information: Call (229) 245-2260.