Behind the scenes at Orlando Shakespeare Theater

R + J Opening and Beyond!

Hello Shakespeare Enthusiasts!

It’s a very exciting time this season at Orlando Shakes. The repertory production of Romeo and Juliet is now open and Cymbeline is opening next week, so you don’t want to miss them! I’ve just spent the past weekend opening R+J. I can’t believe we’re already up and running! The process has been a very intense, but fulfilling one. R+J has shaped up to be a thrilling, exquisite interpretation of one of the best love stories ever written. From elaborate dance sequences to harrowing sword fighting, lots of blood! and lots of intimate, committed acting, the experience has been a whirlwind so far and I am so excited for the run.

When your days are filled to the brim with art, collaboration, and creativity, they go by quickly. It seems such a short while ago that the cast and crew for this show came together, but it’s been over a month. It’s been so much fun getting to know and play around with a great group of fantastic actors, all making bold, brave, and committed work. The production team has been truly phenomenal. Alot of work gets done by assistant stage managers, stage managers, and other technicians that nobody ever really sees. Let’s not forget the costumes! The costumes for this show are gorgeous, and so detailed. So many little things go into the making of one huge product.

When Jonny Lee Davenport, who plays Lord Capulet, was injured on opening night this spirit of togetherness was put to the test and the whole team turned out an admirable product. Halfway through the show, Jonny was unable to continue his performance and everyone immediately went into avert crisis mode. The technical crew took care of the injured actor, and Jim Helsinger stepped up to the plate to go in his place, and did a fantastic job. The audience went right along for the experience and had a truly entertaining night of live theatre. As an actor, to be put in the position to go on unexpectedly is an exciting, but terrifying one, especially since the interns here are assigned major understudy roles. Hopefully, the rest of the run goes off without a hitch.

Cast bonding has been great, from hanging out at actor housing to get togethers at the directors’ homes, it makes you feel so good to be welcomed into someone’s house after a long day of work together and just unwind, and get to know someone you respect on another level. Though R+J is the show we’re concentrated on right now, Cymbeline is right around the bend. We go into tech for that soon as well, and it’s been going to be such a great challenge to perform two completely different plays by one great writer in the same day. Teaching high schoolers at the Saturday Class Sessions is going swimmingly. It’s wonderful to see people making the same discoveries that you have made, and at such a young age to be given and enjoying an opportunity to expand their minds creatively. Busy, busy, busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My parents are coming in a few weeks, and I’m looking forward to that.

Til Next Time,
Ryan

Appetizing treats from R + J opening night provided by Edible Orlando!

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