Theatre department to incorporate multi-level set into ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Abby Kelley, Staff Writer

The Bearden theatre department is bringing the timeless classic, Romeo and Juliet, to life for their spring production.

Bearden’s interpretation of the play, which is set in an undefined time period and involves reversed gender roles of two lead characters, is also being performed on a uniquely designed set built by the theatre department’s set crew.

The set is a multi-level design that is pushed upstage to give the audience, from the front of the auditorium to the back, a great view. Set crew head Ernie Jones said using a set for the show that is unlike any other Bearden has performed on is an exciting twist that comes with its share of challenges.

“The set is made up of two different parts, both around seven-and-a-half feet tall,” Jones said. “The planning process was mostly done with the help of Mr. K (Stephen Krempasky), a man who has worked with [Bearden’s theatre department] for many years.

“The building process is slow, and every detail has to be perfect. If our set is off by even one inch, it risks the safety of the actors [especially when working with] such a tall set.”

Romeo and Juliet is showing Friday through Sunday, and tickets are available online at or for purchase soon in the West Mall.

In addition to a raised set, some of the cast will perform on a ramp that extends into the audience.

“The audience will feel like they are in the play; there is a ramp [which is] used many times during the show that leads to seating only about two feet away,” Jones said. “The actors have trained [to safely act] with a sloped stage and will be sure to put on a show that will be fantastic.”

To execute Romeo and Juliet as artistically as possible, the cast has also learned not only to act on tall platforms and sloped ramps, but to sword fight on them as well. Each sword fight scene takes careful planning and safety has been a main priority for the production.

“[One big challenge] the actors face is the sword fighting,” Jones said. “They have been professionally trained and have practiced many hours with their swords to give an amazing performance during fight scenes, while being safe themselves and keeping others safe.”