The Laramie High School Theater Guild is set to present a timeless love story with themes that resonate today.
“Romeo and Juliet” is scheduled to play at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at LHS, 1710 Boulder Dr. Tickets are $8 for the public and $6 for students. They’re available at the door or through the University of Wyoming Performing Arts Box Office.
Under the direction of Mike Hancey, the production is set in the 1980s, pitting a grunge Montague clan against the preppy Capulets.
Senior Roby Novogrodsky, who plays the friar, said Shakespeare’s story of forbidden love translates into any time period and setting.
“It’s about rebellion, hate, love, gender identity, and these are things that are relevant today,” she said.
As the classic tale goes, Romeo and Juliet are members of rival families.
“Romeo sneaks into the Capulet party and locks eyes with Juliet, and Juliet immediately falls in love with Romeo,” said junior DaiJane Giron, who plays Juliet.
The couple conspire to be secretly wed. Meanwhile, violence breaks out between the two groups and Romeo is involved, and then exiled. Their plan to sneak away together goes awry, eventually bringing about the play’s tragic ending.
Senior Sam Miller, who plays Romeo, said he’s fascinated with the way Shakespeare undermines traditional gender roles in the play, giving Romeo feminine traits and empowering Juliet.
“She takes her fate into her own hand, rejects her parents when they try to push her into a traditional marriage, and when she kills herself at the end, it’s truly an act of agency,” he said. “She rejects the societal shame that will be forced upon her because of her secret marriage, and she chooses to take her own path, even though it’s obviously a very dark one.”
Novogrodsky sees the play as a cautionary tale about the dangers of labels and names.
“It’s one of the most beautiful love stories of all time, but ultimately broken by hate,” she said.
For Aemon Heaney, a sophomore who plays Benvolio, the play has universal appeal and application.
“It reflects the human and not the time period,” he said. “It’s about the deep human underneath.”
The LHS Theater Guild has been rehearsing the play in the evenings and on weekends since December.