Seeing Star-Crossed Lovers Choose Their Way

Freshmen kick-off annual reading of the Shakespeare classic with a choose-your-own-adventure interpretation.

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Seeing Star-Crossed Lovers Choose Their Way

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The freshmen ventured to fair Verona Wednesday, November 13, as the English 1 and English 1 Honors classes attended the Antioch Community High School fall production of Romeo and Juliet: Choose Your Own Ending. The tragedy by William Shakespeare was written by the sister-and-brother writing team Ann and Shawn Fraistat. The take on the “choose your own ending” structure incorporated a mixture of Shakespearean age and contemporary. While the script had typical Shakespearean language, the cast uniquely added a pop of moderness with different colored Converse shoes and costumes for each member. 

After certain scenes throughout the performance, the audience casts votes to determine which course true love will take, ultimately deciding whether the characters live or die. With eight different possible endings, the plan is not the tale of lovers that is read in the book. The play pauses at three different points for the audience to vote on a decision Romeo must make; this determines who he falls in love with, what he fights for and whether or not he dies in the end. These tragic or comical endings are what makes the play either similar or different from the original play. 

According to drama teacher and play director Wanda Teddy, each actor was given the task of memorizing more than twice the amount of lines that would need to be memorized in a typical high school play due to the many possible endings to the show. Cast members were given the play script in May to allow them to have months to memorize their lines; this task was still difficult for many. Senior Braedon Naramore struggled to memorize the part of Mercutio, but he still enjoyed the different style of play with the voting aspect included.

“The hardest part of the show for me was knowing and getting all of the endings correctly,” Naramore said. “Many of them are similar and they all have overlapping lines of dialogue. I do like the voting structure as it is easy to know what the audience picks.”

Each person in the audience is given two glow stick bracelets with which they will use to vote: one yellow and one red. When prompted by the actors, specifically Romeo, the audience raises the arm with the wristband representing the option they prefer.

“The play and the book are similar, but the endings are different,” freshman Allie Curry said. “I loved the voting because you got to choose what you wanted which is really cool to me. I like the different endings for the play because you got to see different ways the book could have ended.”

Romeo and Juliet is often read as a story about love at first sight and tragic fate. At the beginning of the play, the two title characters seem destined for each other. However, Romeo mentions he is still in love with someone else: Juliet’s cousin, Rosaline. Romeo and Juliet encounter one another at a party and, within moments of meeting, fall deeply in love. Yet, despite its allusions, the play also contains elements which suggest there is something suspicious about Romeo and Juliet’s love. Though Rosaline never appeared onstage with the ending that was first chosen by the freshman audience, she is one of the most significant characters in the play. 

The different endings to the play determine the time spent on stage by each character. This new and different style of production is enjoyed by many and seen as a positive addition to the ACHS production of Romeo and Juliet.