General Info > News Releases > Archived Releases 2007-08 > 2008-02-12: Mendocino College Theatre presents Romeo & Juliet

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –February 12, 2008

MENDOCINO COLLEGE, 1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah, CA 95482

Contact: Lisa Lunde, Public Information & Marketing Assistant
T: 707-468-3063, Fax: 707-468-3008, Email:

File: NR-Theatre-Romeo & Juliet

Mendocino College Theatre Presents Romeo and Juliet – March 7-16

Ukiah, CA  The Mendocino College Theatre Arts Department will present Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy about two young people who dare to fall in love despite the bloody feud that has long divided their families, for two weeks only March 7 through 16 in the college’s Center Theatre.

In this production, director and college theatre professor Reid Edelman has updated the setting to a devastated post-apocalyptic landscape. The play unfolds in a modern military state in which the Prince’s attendants wield automatic weapons and a large aircraft has crashed into the center of the stage. However, the feuding Montague and Capulet families fight with swords, daggers and other more primitive weaponry. Edelman explains that “while our version of the play takes place in modern or even futuristic times, there is a sense that the ongoing violence has shattered the technological and civil infrastructure. Winning the feud has become more important than the futures of Verona’s communities and families. Certainly this theme resonates in our contemporary world.”

While the college production design is unconventional, Shakespeare’s language and poetry remain intact. According to Edelman, “whatever design choices we make, in the end Romeo & Juliet depends upon having actors who can bring the delicious language and emotional story to life.” For this production, the college has assembled an extraordinary cast. Romeo and Juliet will be played by college theatre majors Joel Shura and Brittani Ray. Ray dazzled audiences this past fall with her performance of Marketa in the college production of Temptation. Shura has appeared in innumerable local productions, including most recently the Mendocino College – Ukiah Players Theatre co-production of Seussical the Musical. Other college theatre majors in the ensemble include Alicia Littletree as Lady Capulet, Jason Briseno as Paris, Margie Loesch as the Nurse, and Jake Stoepler as Benvolio. The cast also includes several community members and veteran local performers. Chris Douthit, an English teacher at Ukiah High School and a former member of the improvisation troupe “the Hooligans,” plays Romeo’s bawdy and irreverent friend Mercutio. Jim Williams, who has appeared extensively on Ukiah’s stages, plays Friar Lawrence. Lori Stubben, following recent college performances in Temptation and Metamorphoses, portrays Prince Escalus.

Performers making their college theatre debut in major roles in this production include Crispin Cain as Lord Capulet, Charles Hessom as Lord Montague, Cody Jennings as Balthasar, and Andrea McCullough as the fiery Tybalt. Other members of the ensemble include Jennifer Davis, Russell Gibney, Erin Gragson, Daniel Katz, Allison Mack, Nate Mack, Will Mobest, Amanda Norton, Julayne Ringstrom, Herron Spence, Sarah Timm and Rachel Vanderpool.

The many onstage fights present unique challenges in any production of Romeo and Juliet, and in this production the fights are being stage by guest instructor Carla Pantoja. Pantoja is a member of the Society of American Fight Directors and a professional Bay Area actor and fight director. The actor combatants in the production are students in Pantoja’s Mendocino College Stage Combat course.

In addition to the very visible roles of college students as actors on stage, students are also playing essential roles in the creation the production’s technical elements. The show will feature striking scenery designed by resident theatre technician David Wolf and former theatre student Ben Kohler. Mendocino College lighting instructor and production lighting designer Ray Gifford is also teaching a basic stage lighting course in which students will apply their learning through hands on work on the production. Similarly recording studio instructor Paul Kemp is involving his students in his creation of an original sound score, and resident costume designer and instructor Kathy Dingman Katz’s students are building the show’s many costumes. The production stage manager is college student Autumn Teodorsen. The Mendocino College Theatre Arts Department strives to train future generations of theatre artists while also contributing to the cultural life of our local community. Providing opportunities for students to apply their theoretical learning through practical work on major productions like Romeo and Juliet is essential to these goals.

Romeo and Juliet opens on March 7, 2008. Performances will run for two weekends only, through March 16. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, Thursday March 13 at 7:30 PM, and Sunday March 16 at 2 PM. Tickets ($15 general; $12 students and seniors) are available at the Mendocino Book Company and at the Mendocino College Bookstore. For more detailed information about the production, including age appropriateness, please visit the college’s Theatre Department web site.

For additional information, call (707) 468-3172. UKIAH, CA – # # # #

Created: February 12, 2008 @ 02:04 PM
Last Modified: February 12, 2008 @ 02:14 PM


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