Belding drama club gets serious with ‘Romeo and Juliet’

By Darrin Clark • Last Updated 2:43 pm on Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bret Priest and the BHS Drama Club rehearse one of the dance scenes for their production of “Romeo and Juliet.”

The Belding High School Drama Club brings Shakespeare to the stage with its fall production of “Romeo and Juliet.”
One of the bard’s most famous tragedies, the plot portrays the story of two star-crossed lovers.
When Romeo Montague (David Michalek), the son of Lord Montague (Johnny Adame) and Lady Montague (Emilee Renucci), finds himself lovesick for Rosaline, his two witty friends, Mercutio (Connor Middlebrook) and Benvolio (Paul Ostrander), take it upon themselves to distract him from this problem.
The three boys then find themselves attending a masquerade held by the Lord and Lady Capulet (Tyler Petrekovich and Gabrielle Hayes), much to the dismay of Lord Capulet’s nephew, the hot-headed Tybalt (Bret Priest).
Meanwhile, Juliet Capulet (Briana Ferman) is learning the reason her parents have arranged this extravagant gala: She is about to be introduced to her betrothed, the County Paris (Jack Dawdy). However, when Romeo catches a glimpse of Juliet, it is no longer Rosaline in his thoughts.
As he approaches her, Juliet no longer feels the dread that has been building inside her since she was informed of her impending nuptials.
Romeo falls quickly in love with Juliet and she, too, falls for Romeo but her heart is broken when her Nurse (Alex VanLoo) informs her that he is a Montague. Romeo feels the same way when he learns that Juliet is a Capulet.
Despite this knowledge, the two still find ways to be together. With the help of his friend, Pastor Laurence (Connor Tovey), and the nurse, they follow through with a plan that will keep them together regardless of what their names may be.
The couple doesn’t take into consideration the many consequences that might arise when the children of mortal enemies find themselves so deeply in love that they will do anything to stay together for all of eternity.
The decision to perform “Romeo and Juliet” differs from previous years. Director Nicki Moayyer wanted something more serious and challenging for the drama club.
The way the script is written and the way it is interpreted is a challenge in itself. Countless hours were spent deciphering the Shakespearean language, which has been valuable for the actors and actresses.
Learning this script was like learning a new way of speaking for most students. Some have performed Shakespeare in the past, while others have never performed it at all. This was just another obstacle for the cast and crew to overcome.
In addition to rehearsing for two hours every day after school, many of the students juggle other fall activities into their schedules. However, their dedication to the Drama Club and this production has never wavered.
One thing the cast always knew was to dress comfortably on Fridays for choreography. Joseph Curry from the Flat River Dance Company worked with the Drama Club to put together some fun group dances that take place during the masquerade, as well as working with the fight sequences.

Gabrielle Hayes is a Belding High School student.

If you go …
What: “Romeo and Juliet” by the Belding High School Drama Club.
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Where: Belding High School auditorium.
Tickets: $6 or $8 at the door or in advance at Millie’s Family Restaurant, 401 W. Main St. in downtown Belding.

Cast and crew
Director: Nicki Moayyer.
Assistant Director: Mark Bozung.
Romeo Montague: David Michalek.
Juliet Capulet: Briana Ferman.
Lord Montague: Johnny Adame.
Lord Capulet: Tyler Petrekovich.
Lady Montague: Emilee Renucci.
Lady Capulet: Gabrielle Hayes.
Nurse: Alex VanLoo.
Paris: Jack Dawdy.
Tybalt: Bret Priest.
Benvolio: Paul Ostrander.
Pastor (Friar) Laurence: Conner Tovey.
Mercutio: Connor Middlebrook.
Mayor Escalus: Izzi Rytlewski.
Samson: Trevor Davenport.
Adrian: Katie Groening.
Jackie: Marissa Montero.
Bella: Emily Sluiter.
Drug Dealer (Apothecary): Mark Bozung.
Page: Emilee Renucci.
Patti: Hannah Mikek.
1st Watchman: Katy VanTimmeran.
2nd Watchman: Megan Anderson.
3rd Watchman: Natasha DePue.
Chorus: Brandon Hoople, Laura Thaxton and Megan Anderson.
Capulet Citizens: Natalja Girod, Natasha DePue, Christy Gasper, Sara Savpienko, Nicolina Larsson and Rachel Kooiman.
Montague Citizens: Gabby Winright, Mckenzie Shattuck, Haley Davis and Katy VanTimmeran.

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