PVHS set to rock ‘Romeo and Juliet’


The story of “Romeo and Juliet” is a classic, but the Ponte Vedra High School theatre department is set to put their spin on the production, and it involves rock and roll.

The play will be performed in a five-day stretch from Oct. 19-23, with showtime set for 7 p.m. each of the days, expect for Oct. 22 when it will begin at 2 p.m.

Many of the students involved in the play believe that their rock-and-roll version will add a new element to the age-old tale and be something that the audience will appreciate and gravitate to.

“The whole rock-and-roll take has been so much fun, because when you typically think of a Shakespearean play, it can seem kind of grueling to do on stage, but this has been such a blast,” said Cairo Maughan, playing Lord Capulet.

When theatre teacher Jason Nettles first introduced the idea, freshman Leila Warren, playing Juliet, was intrigued by what she was hearing and was just as excited to see how it all comes together as she believes the audiences will be.

“I like it a lot, because he’s allowed the audience to be more engaged,” Warren said. “I’ve found that sometimes when people are going to a classical Shakespeare show it is a very similar audience a lot of the time, but I think if you’re trying to put on, especially a high school production, it has to cater to a lot of various audiences. I feel like the costumes and the music and dancing will capture a wider range.”

Despite the modernization with the rock-and-roll theme, the old language associated with the time period of Shakespearean plays is being kept, so that it maintains that form of authenticity.

According to Maughan, it turned out to be a perfect mix of both new and old vibes.

“It is very unique, but also very original at the same time,” Maughan said.

The production is something that takes months of work and planning behind the scenes to make happen, from the lines and dance moves having to be learned by those acting on stage to the frantic stage setup that takes place behind the curtain from scene to scene.

No one understands the hard work and dedication that goes into making it happen more than those who are entrenched in the process.

However, all that work is also what makes opening night and each production so memorable.

“It makes you feel so proud because it’s something that you’ve been working on for such a long time, and now you reach the point where it’s done and ready to be presented,” said Rigel Gruberg, who plays Tybalt. “It’s a lot of fun to be up there collaborating with your friends like this.”

Gruberg is one of many students that have been a part of the theatre department since freshman year, and looking back, the senior credits his time in the department for so who he has become as a person over the past several years.

“Acting has caused me to grow so much as a person,” he said. “A lot of school is very factual, but acting is one of those things that also requires you to gather an emotional intelligence because you have to be able to put yourself into a character’s shoes. It allows you the opportunity to see how other people behave the way they do and in turn look closer at yourself and why you do the things you do.”

Although Warren is a freshman, she has her share of experience to lean on, having been in past productions in seventh and eighth grades.

However, this is by far the most predominant role she has had, and with that comes more lines to learn, but it is something that she knew going in and believes that she has put in the work at home to study the script and is confident her efforts will come to fruition when it’s showtime.

“The amount of lines is quite crazy, but it’s awesome because I’ve always really had a love for Shakespeare,” Warren said. “I’m so happy I got picked for this role, and I’m ready for the lights to shine.”