By Amelia Eichmeier
Hello! My name is Amelia Rose Eichmeier and I am playing Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Campy Campsite Edition. This is one of two plays and three projects that the 2023 seminar class are working on this year.
You may be wondering how this wacky idea even came about. I was setting spike tape with my friend for one act class when we were discussing Romeo and Juliet. She said that she would love to someday do a campy production of this show. Her meaning “campy” in the Gen Z, artificial, exaggerated way. I obviously interpreted that as setting it in a campground. This led to me being absolutely obsessed with this idea, making a Google slideshow filled with my ideas instead of paying attention in class and attempting to convince everyone I knew who would be taking Seminar in the spring to do this show with me. Instead of memorizing my audition monologue for “Antigone”, I was thinking about this show. I may have a problem. Who knows?
On the first day of the Theater Production Seminar class, I presented my epic Google slide presentation about this show, complete with slides filled with tents, an epic playground, costume ideas, reasons to do the show, and a plea for a director. Though we had to wait a while to start our final plays, I felt my presentation went very well.
When the time finally came to choose our shows and what we were doing, I quickly found that many of my classmates weren’t psychopaths like me that wanted to memorize and learn that much Shakespeare. However, we collected a cast of 10, convinced a director to direct us, and had a team assembled. And did you know that it is possible to do this show with 10 people? It involves some fun tracks– the actor playing Lady Capulet also plays Balthazar, the actor playing Benvolio plays Friar Lawrence, and Tybalt is also Peter. Soon enough, we had it cast and our project was well underway.
Pretty quickly, I found some of my dreams for this show could not be. Our director, Grayson, has infinitely more sense than me, and this show would be an absolute mess without his leadership. The playground I desperately wanted for the balcony scene just wasn’t possible. We had no room for tents on stage. And things had to be cut. Monologues let go of. Beautifully useless words gone from the script. But despite all of this, rehearsals were fun when we weren’t stressing about the thrust or the rehearsal time slipping out of our hands. We found joy in battling with sticks, and in partying at a campfire. We’re a goofy bunch, even when we’re on our fourth death of the show.
Tech week is next week for our show. We all pray that we will be fully memorized by then. Shakespeare is hard, harder to stuff in your brain.
Do I like playing Juliet? Sometimes. She’s growing on me. I think she’s the first normal girl I’ve played in a Shakespeare play– I’ve played funny men and a fairy queen, but never someone so close to me in age and gender. If I pick a Shakespeare monologue, I gravitate towards the “scheming men” archetype. Learning how to play a romantic lead in a Shakespeare play is surprisingly odd to get used to, but I am slowly finding the little nuances about her that make her so much fun. Also, our cast is STACKED and filled with so much talent, so it is so much fun to work with everyone.
You may still have a question remaining: why in a campground? Surprisingly, it just works to have this play not set in faire Verona, but the Verona Area Family Campground. You’ll just have to come and see for yourself.
Come see Romeo and Juliet on June 6th at 7:30 pm!!!