Showstopping senior writes, assistant directs, acts in play

Senior Andrew Morton gives fellow peers instructions for his play “Romeo and Juliet Remix.”(Photo by Margaret Zirwas)

In order to graduate from Bexley, seniors must complete a Capstone project that demonstrates their ability to work independently to complete a project that they are passionate about. Most students complete volunteer service or do a research project, but senior Andrew Morton is not like most: for his Capstone, Morton completed the artistic feat of writing, assistant directing, and performing in his very own play.

Morton explained that while his play is technically a parody of “Romeo and Juliet,” it contains so many twists and turns that by the end the play has nothing to do with the Shakespearean tragedy.

“The play’s full name is ‘The Romeo and Juliet Remix: the Remix, Except the Second Remix is a Secret,’” Morton said. “Basically, it’s a sarcastic and funny rewrite of ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ but then over time it completely falls apart until it’s not even ‘Romeo and Juliet’ anymore.”

Morton explained that in “The Romeo and Juliet Remix,” the audience is first led to believe that it is simply a rewrite of the classic story of “Romeo and Juliet” in modern language and with contemporary jokes and phrases. However, as the play goes on, the cast members performing the play become more unhinged and begin forgetting their lines, missing entrances, breaking the fourth wall and yelling at each other, Morton said. He said that the point of the play is to keep the audience guessing as to whether the actors are terrible or if it’s all part of the script.

“I chose Shakespeare for a few reasons,” Morton said. “First, I’d have a reason to rewrite it because of the language, and–for ‘Romeo and Juliet’ particularly–everyone knows the story inside and out, even if you hadn’t read it.”

Morton’s play is a one-act play, and he explained that means that it is only half the length of a traditional production and has no intermission. The play was performed on March 10 and 11 by the students currently taking the high school’s Theatre Ensemble course.

Theatre director and Theatre Ensemble teacher Rebecca Rhinehart said that the class is an advanced acting and performance-based class.

“It’s really cool because it’s a smaller group, so we can have more individual instruction, and everyone becomes close,” Rhinehart explained.

During the year, the Theatre Ensemble class produces one show per quarter, and the bulk of the class time is spent preparing for these performances, Rhinehart said. She explained that most of the shows done by the theatre department are from scripts purchased online.

“This was the first year that I’ve had a student write one of the plays we put on,” Rhinehart said. “It was challenging because I tend to make plays my own, and so we had to balance making it our own with keeping Andrew’s vision intact.”

Morton played the roles of Sampson and Montague in the production, but he said that his passion lay more in writing and assistant directing the play. Morton explained that he gave himself small acting roles because he didn’t want his classmates to feel like he was dominating the process too much.

Senior Mary Goodney played Juliet in the play and explained that her character’s main problem was apathy toward the performance.

“My family that watched the show was completely tricked by it,” Goodney said. “My mom actually came into my room and asked me if I was okay because I kept messing up my lines, which was actually on purpose.”

Goodney said that she liked that the play was written by a classmate in the Theatre Ensemble class, as it allowed them to adjust the play.

“As we read through the play and worked on it, we could change it because Andrew was there,” Goodney said. “In other shows, we can change things, but not to the extent that we did in this production.”

Morton said that he was really glad he got to do the production, as it allowed him to explore new creative methods and take a deeper dive into theatre.

“It was a really great experience to get to create my own work and actually see it come to life,” Morton said. “I’m so proud of what we accomplished and how it turned out.”