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BCC drama students present Shakespeare with a twist
new slt BCC Romeo
Barton Community College freshman Taryn Siegrist rehearses a scene from the upcoming student production Romeo and Juliet Sort of, in the BCC Fine Arts Auditorium. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Shakespeare’s timeless classic "Romeo and Juliet" will be turned upside down by students of the Barton Community College theater department at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday in the Fine Arts Auditorium.

"Romeo and Juliet ... Sort of," will feature a mixture of on-the-fly improvisational comedy, scripted bits and skits, as well as opportunities for audience interaction, said directors Chelsey Gotchall and David Burdett. There will be elements from the original "Romeo and Juliet," but the end product will be completely unique.

"It’s kind of a different take on the play," Gotchall said. "There are lines from the play, but it’s in a more Western format. It’s going to be really fun, but very different."

The majority of the material is entirely original and written by Gotchall and Burdett. The two have split the duties of wearing the director’s hat and Gotchall said they have developed a strong dynamic as a directorial team.

"David is full of energy, and he has a lot of ideas," she said. "He’s also really good at writing and a lot of the show was written by him, whereas I think my biggest part has been coaching the actors through what David wrote out and trying to get the vision across to them."

Written, acted and directed entirely by students, the annual student production offers the cast and crew an opportunity to truly run the entire show.

"There are a lot of conflicting schedules and it’s a lot more nerve-wracking than it was when I directed in high school," Gotchall said. "It’s a lot different, but I feel like the actors can learn something. I think they listen differently when they are listening to another student as opposed to when they are listening to a teacher."

BCC Theater Department Director Erin Renard said her students have definitely challenged themselves.

"I think it’s been very ambitious of them to tackle this type of project," Renard said.

Admission is free for all students with an ID (high school or college). Admission for non-students is $5. Tickets will be available at the door at 6:45 p.m. on both show nights. All seats are general admission.