Romeo and Juliet step into 2019

Howe Sound Secondary to perform Shakespearean classic March 6 to 10

Perhaps the best-known love story is coming to the Eagle Eye Theatre — with a modern update.

"Of course, we're all familiar with how the classic tale goes," Nicholas Seguin, who will play Romeo, said during rehearsals for the Shakespeare tragedy. "It was actually really easy to modernize. There aren't that many elements you need to change, other than Juliet's age. Other than that, modernizing it is really just giving it a different aesthetic other than Shakespearean, Elizabethan style. It's more rock 90s."

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When the drama teacher Sandra Droulis gave her students three plays to choose from, they selected Romeo and Juliet. This is the first production the new drama and English teacher is putting on in Squamish. For eight years, Droulis taught the dramatic arts to students in Whistler before moving to Squamish last year.

Given that the original language is challenging for both the performers and the audience, Droulis essentially translated the whole play.

"I think when you see it modernized, you see how relevant it still is," she said.

There's the lovesick Romeo who has a crush on a girl who doesn't like him back, then never mentions her again after he finds a new all-consuming love interest in Juliet. The young and reckless couple doesn't listen to their parents. There are feuds so old, no one remembers how they started.

In this version, however, there will be motorcycles and trendy clothes. The school band sets an edgier tone.

HSS Romeo and Juliet
Source: Keili Bartlett

"It's like taking Shakespeare and putting it into context for 2019, which I think is really cool," said Talisa Stewart, who is taking on the role of Juliet.

"For me, it makes me think about grudges. You can have a grudge on someone for the longest time, but this shows the worst-case scenario of grudges."

It will be the first time Seguin, a senior at Howe Sound Secondary, is playing a lead character (although you may recognize him as the Mayor of Whoville from last year's production, Seussical The Musical). 

When he stepped into Romeo's shoes, he was surprised by just how dramatic the character is.

"Before I got the role, I thought of him as very romantic. He's a lover. I never realized how sad and gloomy he is," Seguin said. "A lot of my roles have been comedic, so it's a really big contrast to portray such negative emotions."

As for young Juliet, Stewart said, "She's very, very naive to love. She doesn't understand it, which I personally didn't know when I first took on the role."

All the same, the intense emotions carry away all the characters, leading to increasingly higher stakes as we watch the rollercoaster of the star-crossed lovers end with their sobering fate

"It was written to appeal to your emotions, the emotional side everyone has that will never go away," Seguin said. "It doesn't matter what setting, love is love."

Who could bring it to life better than teenagers?

The show will run from March 6 to 9, at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 9, will also feature a matinee show at 1 p.m. Tickets will be available at the Howe Sound Secondary school office and at the door.

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