Theatre department brings unique twist to Romeo and Juliet cast

Taylor+Patton%2C+who+will+play+Sister+Laurence+in+Bearden%27s+interpretation+of+Romeo+and+Juliet%2C+looks+over+a+script+before+rehearsal.

Emily Simmons

Taylor Patton, who will play Sister Laurence in Bearden's interpretation of Romeo and Juliet, looks over a script before rehearsal.

Emma Mink, Staff Writer

Romeo and Juliet is a classic love story that has been read and studied in classrooms for generations. The Bearden theatre department is bringing this timeless story to life with a different spin.

Not only is the story set in a more modern time period, but it also has reversed the genders of two lead characters. Senior Bridget Nagdeman will play Romeo’s cousin and confidant Benvolio, and senior Taylor Patton will play Friar Laurence, who will be called Sister Laurence in Bearden’s interpretation.

Being a female and playing a role that was originally meant to be played by a male comes with its share of challenges.

You definitely have to be aware of how you present your lines,” said Nagdeman, whose character is Romeo’s cousin.

Even though portraying the role can be more difficult, Patton said it might even make the show better.

“I think you still at the end of the day are telling the same story,” she said. “I think you’re just making the story reflect the audience a little more which I think is really incredible.”

Added Nagdeman: “It’ll be different from the original text, but I believe people will like our take on a new influential female character.”

For this show, the cast has learned new skills such as sword fighting, which Nagdeman has been able to participate in since she is playing a male role.

Each sword fighting scene takes careful planning and “learning the choreography takes lots of time, but it is very rewarding when you master a sequence,” Nagdeman said. “It is absolutely one of the most challenging, intricate, and fun things I have ever done.”

With these two characters being switched to female characters, their relationships and interactions with other characters are different but they still have the same meaning behind it.

“I think with the role I have either way I sort of see a friar or sister as sort of a parental figure,” Patton said. “[My character] sees the bigger picture. She’s not impulsive, and she’s trying to help the children and her motives seem unselfish yet she’s trying to help them.”

Nagdeman said Benvolio and Romeo will still have a strong relationship despite being opposite genders.

“You’ll see the great chemistry and friendship between Romeo and Benvolio, as she gives him advice on girls and attempts to help him with love,” Nagdeman said. “She belongs to a group of Romeo’s good friends, cracks jokes alongside them, and fits right in.”

Romeo and Juliet is showing April 27-29, and tickets will be available for purchase soon in the West Mall and online. For more information, visit beardentheatre.com.