The lights dimmed, the applause came to a slow stop and the scene crew set up a brick wall dividing the stage. Thus began an unexpected tale of romance as “The Romancers,” a play directed by theater arts major Zachary Green began Wednesday night in Dailey Theatre.
The play was presented to the University as a one-night-only show, part of homecoming week.
“Given the theme for this year’s Homecoming, it was recommended that this show will be very suitable for it and we just took it and ran with it,” Green said.
The play carried a “Romeo and Juliet-esc” story line, with a love divided between two families, except with more of a comedic flare.
Slyvette, performed by Gabrielle Atchley, and Percinet, performed by Stefan Celeketic, met often in a park by a brick wall that separated them, placed due to what was thought to be a dislike between the fathers of both.
Slyvette and Percient would exchange sonnets and flattering remarks, with the occasional peep over the wall for a kiss, and holding affectionate eye contact, while startling themselves at times when speaking about their fathers dislike.
Celeketic brought his own experience into the Percient character from a summer of tough love after leaving a romantic relationship behind in a different country.
“It was really intense and really deep,” Celeketic said, who came to the United States from Africa. “I had to leave the country, that’s the only reason why it ended.”
“We still deeply like each other. The problem is the countries are 10,000 km between us,” Celeketic said.
The emotion showed in Celeketic performance, which sold the love tale to the audience.
“It was amazing, it was surprising, it really grabbed me in,” theatre and philosophy major Alon Dina said. “It really grabbed me into the world of the play.”
After Bergman, performed by Jacob Tittl, revealed to his son Percient that he has step up an arranged marriage for him, the play changed its pace.
Tittl captured Bergman’s cynical old man mannerisms while involving a humorous tone to nearly every word spoken.
Pasquinet, performed by Jordan Klomp, father of Slyvette, was a jolly old man, who was relieved to be in on the arranged marriage.
The interaction between both Pasquinet and Bergman was a joy to see, providing different types of humor to the play.
“Well, I like to throw a lot of the physical comedy into it,” Green said. “I just loved the text because it gave me so much freedom to do what I wanted to do. I think this cast in particular just brought so much content to the script.”
A particular highlight from the play came from a scene between the characters, Straforel performed by Alex Freitas and Blaise, performed by Mona Lutti, where a fake kidnapping of Slyvette was to occur. Both kept the absurdity of what was occurring to a minimal, keeping the crowd in tune.
“I really liked it because it made a big difference for me actually knowing all the characters personally,” freshman theater arts major Alyssa Navarro said.
The theater was near to full capacity, a surprise to Green.
“Teaming up with campus activities board really brought a great turn out,” Green said.
“I’m really excited. Hopefully after seeing this some people will come back to see other shows.”
With “The Romancers” ending in a success, the theatre department’s next play “Urinetown” will hopefully continue to display its talent to the University.
“Urinetown” begins Nov. 8 in Dailey Theatre.
Karo Chakhlasyan can be reached at email@example.com.