“Oh Romeo, Romeo, were for art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love And I’ll no longer be a Capulet…Tis but thy name that is my enemy Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What’s Montague? It is not hand or foot, Nor arm nor face, nor any other part belonging to a man. Oh, be some other name! What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet: So Romeo would, were be not Romeo call’d, Retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title, Romeo, doff thy name, and for thy name, which is not part of thee take all myself.” –William Shakespeare
Over the past few months, I have been working to “brush up my Shakespeare,” as part of the cast of Romeo and Juliet. We just finished our run of the show on Sunday. I fell in love with my complicated character, Lady Capulet and with the work of William Shakespeare. The cast for this show were amazing and supportive! I do not know if I have ever enjoyed a cast and crew this much. It was so fun to share all that we learned about the history, the language and the social expectations of this time.
One of the things that was most challenging was memorizing lines. In the beginning, reading the script was like learning a foreign language. Our directors were amazing at breaking down the meaning and helping us understand the semantics and the dialect. Early on, I can remembering wondering if it was all going to come together in the end. It took a long time for the language to feel natural and the delivery to be polished.
Another interesting, but time-consuming thing, was the choreography involved in the sword fighting scenes. Our fight director spent countless hours meticulously directing every move. About a week before our show opened, there was a sword fighting mishap. Tyrese, who played Romeo, got cut by a sword, just below his eye. He took a trip to the hospital and he ended up with four stitches. There was no time to waste and he was back fighting the next day.
Costume fitting is one of my personal favorite times in a show. Costumes seem to breathe life into a play, especially a period piece. This to me is like putting the final touches on each character. The actors start to both look and feel the part. My costume was a red velvet dress and robe with gold accents. This seemed very fitting for Lady Capulet. The other costumes were all coming together as well. I was beginning to feel like we were traveling back in time, to 1595, Verona, Italy.
The set was a very complex design and required countless hours of planning and construction. Each cast member is required to put in at least ten hours of “tech work” on the set, in addition to daily rehearsals. We have a wonderful and creative set director at Fargo South and it was truly fascinating to watch his vision come to life. The intricate stone detail added to the drama that the stairs provided for the fight scenes.
One of the things that was most challenging things for me as an actor was being required “to cry on demand.” The tragic plot of this story had my character in tears in many scenes. In the final scene, I weep uncontrollable when I realize the fate of Romeo and Juliet. A spotlight shines on the three of us and then the theatre goes dark.
Yours in harmony,
Payton Hausauer - Miss Teen North Dakota International 2017