|“Shakespeare wrote for the masses, but today so many people approach his work as that of an elite playwright. While his language is certainly complex at times, his stories are as relevant today as they ever were,”
— Melodi Tash
A hushed whisper fell over the sold out crowd. The lights were dimmed.
A spotlight shone on the stage with one prop — a park bench. The Theoretical Theater Company presents The Original Romeo and Juliet.
“The intention of this piece is to relate to the audience that Shakespeare originally wrote Romeo and Juliet as a comedy,” Director and Sound Designer Melody Tash explains.
Although this is Tash’s first professional experience, her credits include assistant to the director, Chess; Orestes, Electra; and assistant stage manager, The Lady in Question.
Tash recently graduated from Temple University with a bachelor’s degree in theater and a minor in History. Her love for theater dates back as long as she can remember.
“Shakespeare wrote for the masses, but today so many people approach his work as that of an elite playwright. While his language is certainly complex at times, his stories are as relevant today as they ever were,” Tash said.
Tash described the writing of the script for the play as complex, but also fun, as she incorporated lines from various Shakespeare plays. The writing was designed in a way for anyone to follow, whether an avid fan or not.
The language and plot are illuminated by the lack of an elaborate cast or scenery. With only five characters, what may appear to be a crude backstage play is entertaining and charismatic. It is excitement until the end, as the final laugh erupts from the audience.
Selection for this small cast was difficult due to the number of talented actors that auditioned. Those who made the cut include: Melissa diLeonardo (Lady in Red), Michael S. Drzik (Benvolio), John Moletress (Romeo), Cherie Roberts (Juliet), and David Stahl (Friar Lawrence). Cherie Roberts and David Stahl are both theater majors at Temple.
Other Temple students include Rajiv Shah (scenic designer), Tim Mackay (lighting designer), Renee Hoffman (costume designer), Delia Tash (graphic designer, assistant to the director), and recent graduate Scott McNulty (stage manager).