Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet will be performed by an all women cast at Dominican University on Nov 3. This takes a very interesting, modern plot twist to the play originally published in 1597.
The norm is for a male to play the lead and a woman to play Juliet, it is interesting to see the script flipped with women playing both feminine and masculine roles. Director Krista Hansen intended the casting to emphasize non-traditional gender roles, but the all-female cast was not planned.
“The original approach to casting was going to be gender fluid. From the start, I was open to any gender in any role, as we went through the audition process, the candidates were mostly women and there were only three males in consideration,” said Hansen. “I decided that we would indeed proceed with an all female cast. We have also taken great lengths to veer away from traditional gender stereotypes.”
Senior Melanie Thompson said that the timing of this drama was the reason why she auditioned for the role of Romeo.
“It’s my senior year and I wanted to perform in the fall so I set my sights on Romeo first thing,” she said. ”There’s something beautiful about his character and he isn’t traditionally masculine either, he lives and breathes in all of his emotions without shame and he’s both parts sensitive and terrifying. It’s such an incredible scope to play, and I really wanted the chance to do it, and now I can.”
Juliet will be played by junior Mia Powell who is also excited about her role, despite her same-sex counterpart. According to Powell, the comments she has received about the modern Shakespeare play have been” mostly positive.”
“When I’ve told some people I’m Juliet, they are worried that I’m uncomfortable kissing another woman or that they’re uncomfortable with going this route, but I really love that we’re doing this” said Powell. “In Shakespeare’s time, it was an all-male casting in general, so it’s not like it’s any different. I think Shakespeare would think this is pretty rad actually.”
Despite the all female cast, Hansen discloses that the play is not intended to be a commentary on the LGBTQ community.
“Some characters have been changed to be female and some characters remained male but are just played by a female.The plot is not about the love relationship between Romeo and Juliet; the main point of the play is about the hatred between the two families, and how that hatred ends in tragedy and stalls progression of a society,” said Hansen. “Hatred gets us nowhere that’s the message we are delivering.”
If you would like to witness this all women’s cast put on a show on a spectacular classic, make sure to get your tickets as soon as possible. The show will run from Nov. 3 until Nov. 12, tickets are five dollars each and you can purchase tw per DU ID.