theatre program and flyer for Union's production of Romeo & JulietThis past week, Union College’s Department of Theatre & Dance presented a post-apocalyptic showing of the classic Romeo & Juliet play by William Shakespeare. Although I’m here and there with the theatre program—participating in plays at least once a year—I mainly went to see the show for moral support. However, in my current English course (Shakespeare After 1600), we’ve just finished reading the tragedy, so my professor advised us to go see the school’s production in addition to reading and analyizing the text.

One thing that stood out in the play was the number of strong actors on stage. The cast was a good mix of everyone from first-years to seniors. Everyone was well into who they were supposed to be. And I give credit to the performance as a whole, because keeping an audience entertained with a story that’s so overused and illustrated in mainstream culture takes talent. But there was nothing trite about their performance because the cast portrayed these familiar characters in a way that didn’t take away the pathos of the play and showed ingenuity. The set design is always impressive, and it never ceases to amaze me how detailed, perceptive and convincing it often is. As a whole, it’s easy to overlook the amount of work that goes into putting on a play, and Union theatre students and faculty have this admirable way of doing it that just consistently reminds me of the many avenues of self-expression that Union offers.

If there’s anything that satisfies my theatre-junkie heart at college, it’s watching Union put on some creative and entertaining productions. Having a feel of a production and being able to react to the plot is something actors (and actresses) miss out on when they’re in a play—it’s bittersweet, in a way. “You” enjoy entertaining others, but you also want to view the play you’re in and be entertained by “you” (and recording a play just loses the fun and joy of watching something live/in-the-moment). Past productions I’ve seen are “The Dining Room” (fall term) and “Fuddy Meers” (spring term), but I’d participated in the winter term production of an “Adult Evening with Shel Silverstein”.

Nonetheless, if you’re ever in the Union area next year, I highly recommend seeing their upcoming productions.