Romeo and Juliet on Border performance is next week

Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things; Some shall be pardon’d, and some punished:
For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.” – William Shakespeare

All forty-five ABS fifth-graders will perform a unique musical adaptation of Shakespeare, the ABS “Living Textbook” production: Romeo and Juliet on the Border, next week. Performances are next Wednesday and Thursday, February 27th and 28th at 7:00 p.m. at the Arts Council Theater (Triad Stage Theater) 610 Coliseum Drive in Winston-Salem.

Admission is $5.00, seating is limited. You may purchase tickets from Ms. Mac at the ABS front desk, or at the theater before the show. To prepare for this complex production, students studied America’s reconstruction via the western cattle drive era in the late 1800s, period folk and popular songs and dances from America’s wild west and Northern Mexico, poetry, maps of cattle trails and biomes of the west, paintings and photos from the era, cattle trade economics, changing roles of women, influences of technology, and recognition of the mixed ethnic demographic of the original cowboys. 

Bob Moyer, founder of “Shakespeare Lives!” and former director of the UNCSA high school drama program, joined ABS teachers in introducing students to Shakespeare, the Globe Theater, and the timeless story elements of Romeo and Juliet. The story’s complications of clashing cultures, fear and intolerance of strangers, and the great human
challenges of resolving differences and sustaining peace were recognized as immediate, even in a 5th grade classroom. Students examined West Side Story as another example of adaptation of Shakespeare’s play.  Shakespearean English was studied and decoded, first into their own vernacular, and then into turn-of-the-century cowboy phraseology.

The original Shakespeare is preserved in heightened moments of emotion. The Hispanic Arts Initiative helped develop the project, assuring cultural accuracy. Heidi McIver is fight choreographer, Jan Adams choreographs dance, Mary Siebert directs. Musicians Mary Ann Bills, Peter Wilbur, Joe Pecoraro, Katherine Wylie, and Vivian Mayers accompany from the orchestra pit.

The show lasts about one hour, and all ABS students will attend dress rehearsals at the theater next week.