Behind the scenes at Orlando Shakespeare Theater

Friar Laurence takes on the Law!

In the summer of 2011, I may have watched the Casey Anthony trial. Actually, that phrase is a bit of an understatement. Glued to my TV set dissecting every piece of evidence every day from opening statements to deliberations sounds more akin to what I truly did.

Needless to say, I looked forward to the day when the Friar from Romeo and Juliet faced the charge set against him – involuntary manslaughter.

On Tuesday, February 21, the trial opened to a packed house. One by one, the witnesses took the stand to answer heated questions from the prosecutor, Kim Ashby, and the defense, John Hamilton. I loved the integration of references from the text to references of today’s issues. Topics like friending on Facebook to googling chloroform were thrown about by the lawyers resulting in raucous snickering from the audience. There were so many entertaining portions during the evening, but I have to say my two favorite moments came from Romeo and the Nurse.

Towards the end of his cross-examination, John Hamilton presented a Valentine card for Romeo to read aloud. This was a note from Romeo professing his affection for Rosaline, his past love. While I don’t recall word for word what was said, it included something to the effect of “Rosaline, you so fine” and extended repetitions of her name. Not even Romeo could refrain from the out of control laughter.

And Anne Hering. Boy did she make some hilarious character choices with the Nurse. Between stuffing her face with food and speaking  Italian phrases and names (she decided not to speak English at first), I completely lost it. My co-worker Betsy and I were literally falling out of our chairs howling with laughter. It was a sight to be seen, that’s for sure!

After the closing arguments (kudos to Ms. Ashby for that sassy Shakespeare-esque monologue), Friar Laurence was absolved of his charges, but will be turned over to the authority of his Bishop.

What an interesting and unique night at the theater! I think I’ll have to check out Romeo and Juliet again to formalize whether the verdict was just or not. Can’t wait to see what next year’s trial will be!

Signing off,
A’riel T.
Marketing Intern, Orlando Shakespeare Theater

Romeo takes the stand!


2 responses

  1. Vizcaya Lady

    More people have come up to me and said how much they LOVED this interaction of actors and lawyers. It actually brought new insights into the play to hear the “facts” of what actually happened. It added another dimension to follow the story with today’s lingo. Anne Herring stole the show….and Romeo and Juliet spoke like real teenagers…and Friar Tuck looked doomed from the start. What a fun night….and they were just about “sold out” which tells me lots of other folks liked it as well. Thanks to Ashby and Hamilton for their great performances……good job all around!

    February 24, 2012 at 12:51 am

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