BWW Interview: Christopher Rose, director of ROMEO AND JULIET at Mill Town Players
Mill Town Players puts an Appalachian spin on an old favorite with their new production of Romeo and Juliet, opening October 26.
We asked director Christopher Rose to tell us about his unique vision for this timeless tale.
What's your approach to this production?
We are placing the show deep in the mountains of Appalachia in the late 19th Century.
Why did you choose this setting and how do you think it enhances the material?
The late 19th Century in the Appalachian Mountains is known for its feuding families, the most famous of which were the Hatfields and McCoys. Also, Linguists and etymologists postulate that the sound of the Appalachian dialect is the closest surviving pronunciation to that of Shakespeare's England. The nature of the Bard's poetry lends itself well to the sing-song cadence of mountain folk. And, it also gave us a chance to work some subplots of struggle, alcoholism, abuse and poverty into the mix.
What do you think is the continuing appeal of this story?
I think young love is a universal theme that most if not all people can relate to, as is the idea that we can be prisoners of our choices and actions. Forgiveness, sacrifice and redemption are all key players in Romeo and Juliet and those are values that we hold close to heart.
What do you hope audiences will take away with them?
I hope people can walk away having taken a moment to think about what we leave behind for our children. I want people to question what sacrifices future generations will have to pay for our grudges, wastefulness, polarization and lack of responsibility today. I think we all have a little in common with those angry Capulets and Montagues, and that should make us pause.
Who are some of the key cast and creative team?
Friar Laurence, Al Means
Balthasar, Marie Means
Benvolio, Will Landrum
Tybalt, Matthew Garrison
Capulet, Ken Thomason
Lady Capulet, Anne Robards
Montague, Ed Chambers
Lady Montague, Debbie Chambers
Romeo, Greg Middleton
Paris, Jason Masters
Nurse, Cindy Mixon
Juliet, Kat Bates
Mercutio, Kelly Crittendon
Scenic Design: Will Ragland
Sound Design: Ashley Bingham
Lighting Design: John King
Costume Design: Beth King
Romeo and Juliet runs October 26 through November 4 at mill Town Players in Pelzer, SC. For tickets and additional information visit milltownplayers.org.
Photo Credit: Escobar Photography