Theatre companies hard at work with Variety Show and not-so-straight play

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By Alex Kerravala, Staff Writer

Our campus’ two theatre companies held their eleventh annual joint variety show, where our numerous talented performers got to flex their vocal muscles, all for the good cause of raising money for Cancer Research. And if for whatever reason singing isn’t your interest, you’ll be happy to know 20Cent Theatre Company has their straight play, the ironically not straight Romeo and Julius to look forward to this weekend, the weekend of April 27th.  

For starters, the Eleventh Annual Joint Theatre Company Variety show was an all out blast. This free show, hosted wonderfully by the relaxed, yet energetic Tighe Ratcliffe, and was organised, as it always is, to accept donations for Relay For Life to help support cancer research.  

The show lasted roughly an hour and a half, and provided non-stop entertainment for every minute of it. The show opened with a local student rock band called Skyseekers, who performed two original songs. The group has been performing together for just about a year, and it truly does show. With, not only the musical talent necessary, but the stage presence to boot, these kids started this night of fun off with a bang.  

Following this, the evening may have slowed down after that, but the night was never boring. Following this, we were created to several other songs, sung by the amazing folks within these companies, as well as a stand up act about a water gun fight from Harley Keith.  

Bringing the night to a close was host  Tighe Ratcliffe sharing a personal story of loss, and overcoming obstacles, followed by a heartfelt cover of Twenty One Pilots. While a little mood changing at first, it was an excellent ending to a night dedicated to helping those in need.  

If you missed your chance to support the campus theatre companies, have no fear, for 20Cent is putting on a performance of classic Shakespeare, but with a twist. Director Gabriella Barthe had the idea for a minimalist approach to Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet, but with Juliet played by first time actor Eric Sousa. So, rather than the tradional Romeo and Juliet, all are welcome to see 20Cent’s production of Romeo and Julius! 

The show puts the gay relationship at the forefront of this production, and follows the idea that Julius is to be married into a straight, ‘normal” relationship, with his entire family being apathetic to his concerns, save for the nurse.  

“I really wanted to show the subtleties of the way people react to things nowadays,” says director Gabriella Barthe. Showing just how cold some families can be in this very real scenario.  

The show is filled with a cast of rookie actors all willing to prove themselves here at UMD. James Stergios, for example, is playing Romeo, and it is his first time performing here at UMD, much like Sean Mahoney as Lord capulet. Katey MacDonald and Mary Wordwell, playing Lady Montague and chorus/apothecary respectively, on the other hand, has never acted on stage before, and will be debuting this weekend.  

The cast isn’t only made up of newcomers, however, with veteran First year Megan Sullivan playing the wild and outrageous Mercutio, as well as senior Meghan Lynch playing the nurse as hilariously as she always is.  

The show opens on Thursday the 26, and is shaping up to be a profound, modernized twist on this staple of live theatre.  

If Shakespeare sounds boring for you, you should know the cast has been hard at work choreographing some pretty physically intense fight scenes, as is expected of Romeo and Juliet.  

Photo Courtesy: 20 Cent Fiction

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