Behind the scenes at Orlando Shakespeare Theater

Two Weeks Until Opening of “R & J”!

It’s a New Year, and with it, a ton of exciting things happening at Orlando Shakespeare. We’ve been in rehearsal for the Repertory productions of Romeo and Juliet and Cymbeline since before Christmas, and things are really starting to come together for both shows. The process has been a thrilling and invaluable learning experience as a young actor starting out in the professional world of theater.


We began both shows with tablework. Tablework is when the actors in the scene sit and discuss what is really going on with the text they are reading, what the characters’ motivations are, and what they trying to accomplish. This is such a helpful tool for actors, and especially useful with Shakespeare plays. We spent a great amount of time figuring out what his words mean to us in today’s world, and that is the key to making Shakespeare relevant and current. It amazes me how contemporary and easily understood these plays can be, if interpreted in the right way. Romeo and Juliet has stuff that’s as raunchy as an “American Pie” movie, and it’s wonderful to see older, more experienced actors accessing these characters with such depth and wit.
That’s been my favorite part of the experience so far. Getting to know and collaborate with a fantastic group of new artists, and learning so much from watching them work. It’s been inspirational to my creative process, and I am truly stunned by how generous and inviting this cast and crew is. Such intimacy and kindness is absolutely neccessary when you’re putting your whole heart into something so delicate as the greatest love story ever told.
Ryan and Interns

Ryan and interns in the Green Room

Another fun element of this process has been the fight choreography! There are lots of brawls between the two shows, and it’s exhilarating to be taking part in such a physical form of theatre. At this point, we’ve had a run through or two of Romeo and Juliet, and are preparing for our first full run through of Cymbeline tomorrow! The juxtaposition of Shakespeare’s best known play, and perhaps one of the least known, being performed together is a really great match. Romeo and Juliet has a bunch of surprises, from a soundtrack of Pink songs to a completely new beginning, and Cymbeline is a hilarious, tragic, and entertaining mashup of a number of theatrical genres and styles.

I’m so grateful for all the work I’m able to do here, and everything I’m learning from this experience. Here are some pictures from the rehearsals of the recent reading of Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth, which was a great success, and played to a full house!
Til next time,

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