The summer theater season opens at St. John’s this weekend with “Shakespeare’s R&J,” one of three plays being staged in the DiVincenzo Black Box Theatre in the Ryken Center for the Arts. All three shows have been selected, cast, and directed by Prep graduates, in collaboration with Theater Arts Director Alicia Greenwood.
The summer theater program puts a special focus on acting development with workshop-style rehearsals. Auditions for each of the plays took place at the end of May, and since then the actors, including Prep students in grades 9 through 12 as well as young women from the area, have been putting in long hours with rehearsals three evenings a week. Read on for details and performance dates and time!
“Shakespeare’s R&J” by Joe Calarco
Directed by CJ DiOrio '15, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts '19
July 27, 28, 29
As a student at St. John’s, CJ DiOrio pitched the idea of producing “Shakespeare’s R&J” when he took Ms. Greenwood’s play production class. He describes Calarco’s play as “an exploration of acceptance, self, and community.” One of the challenges he’s encountered is that the original script called for four people, but he wanted to expand on that to include 12 actors. During rehearsals they focused on ensemble building and creating a community among the actors.
CJ, who attends NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, feels this adaption of Romeo & Juliet is timely and important. “I hope that they see that not only is Shakespeare still relevant and alive but things that we perceive as one way don’t always have to be taken that way. I’m hoping the audience and the boys will be reminded that Shakespeare is not just pretty language with no meaning and no weight. They’re all real people and all relatable stories.”
“Shakespeare’s R&J” members of the cast include:
Erik Martin, Tommy Bachand, Benjamin Smith, Corey Brown, Devyn Berry, Cameron LaPierre, Matt Green, Alex Kosciuszek '18, Joe Carter, Tyler Connolly, Spencer Lawson, Ryan Jackson, Lighting by Devin Sullivan ‘17
“Polaroid Stories” by Naomi Iizuka
Directed by Kevin Lynch '09, Providence College '13
August 3, 4 and 5
When looking for a play, Kevin Lynch ‘09 wanted to find a script that called for a mix of strong male and female roles. During his search, he came across “Polaroid Stories” by Naomi Iizuka and loved that it was based on Ovid’s magnum opus “Metamorphoses.” Set in the 1990s, “Polaroid Stories” tells a dark tale that takes place on an abandoned pier at the outermost edge of a city. Themes of homelessness and drug addiction are presented poignantly by the actors.
As rehearsals continue and the actors inhabit their characters, Kevin hopes they will “challenge themselves to play characters that are so completely different than who they are as kids with different life experiences. Even though the drug problems that were around in the 1990s were different, there is still an opioid crisis going on today. Hopefully, they’ll [audiences] see that connection.”
“Polaroid Stories” members of the cast include:
David Estabrooks, Gaby Estabrooks (Austin Prep/Boxford), Cole Steeves, Jillian Steeves (Danvers/Danvers High School), Casey Beriau, Athena Nickole (Bishop Fenwick/Saugus), Drew McClelland '18, Molly Geaney (Academy at Penguin Hall/Lynn), Jack Clasby, Meghan Toler (Beverly High School/Beverly), Julia Toler (Beverly High School/Beverly)
Please note: “Polaroid Stories” includes mature themes and content that may not be suitable for children under 13.
“She Kills Monsters” by Qui Nguyen
Directed by Aidan Marchetti '15, University of Connecticut '19
August 10, 11, and 12
According to Aidan Marchetti ‘15, “She Kills Monsters” is “a celebration of the nerds of the world, the Dungeons & Dragons, and the geeks.” Aidan fell in love with this story of four powerful women when he first saw it at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre, which is affiliated with the University of Connecticut.
He was drawn by the show’s heart and humor and its nostalgia for the 90s. “It’s a story of family. What you will do for the ones you love and, how far you’ll go for the ones you love? I hope people see this play, and it tells them to live in the present, tell those who you care about what they mean to you because you never know what’s going to happen,” says Aidan. “I think at the heart of it is a play of acceptance and love and a lot of human emotion comes out of that. Hopefully, we spread that.”
“She Kills Monsters” members of the cast include:
Pat Costello, Cait Gagnon, Cait Etzel, Cait Cirone, Nick Pocharski, Chris Pocharski, Lauren Casey, Evvy Ronan, Jordan Rochna, John Calzini, Danny Bisson, Max Olson, Sam Baylow
To Know If You Go
All performances are in the DiVincenzo Black Box Theatre in the Ryken Center for the Arts on the St. John’s Prep campus. Performances will be on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; and Sundays at 2 pm—check each listing for specific show dates. Tickets are $8. Seating is limited. Contact Alicia Greenwood, Fine Arts faculty and Artistic Director of St. John's Prep Theater Arts, for information and reservations at email@example.com.
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