WHS play ‘Rosaline’ both Shakespearean, very modern

WHS play ‘Rosaline’ both Shakespearean, very modern

With Juliet watching, played by Lydia Dunlap, left, Rosaline, played by Emily Hammond, right, confronts Nurse Angelica, played by Mara French, over her role in Juliet’s death in a scene from “Rosaline Wrecked It All.” The three are members of the Wooster High Drama Club, which will stage the play April 5-7 at the WHS Performing Arts Center in the Ohio debut of the show.


When the Wooster High School Drama Club takes the stage for its production of “Rosaline Wrecked It All” on April 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. and April 7 at 2 p.m., not only will it be the Ohio debut of the show, but also it will be only the second time the show has ever been produced.

It is the show’s originality that attracted the club’s attention.

“I had posted an inquiry or two on a message board for theater directors, and the playwright Stephen Kaplan reached out to me,” Director Brett Hiner said. “He was kind enough to share the script, which I shared with some club officers, and they all fell in love with it.”

The plot focuses on the character of Rosaline, the young woman Romeo was going to the Capulet Ball to see, until he spots Juliet and forgets all about her. The rest, as they say, is Shakespearean history. Or is it?

The play picks up after the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, where the finger-pointing over whom is responsible is running rampant. Most direct their fingers at Rosaline, with the simple opinion that had she attended the party, Romeo would have never seen Juliet, fallen in love and died.

But as the play is a modern-day sequel, told in modern language, naturally it brings into consideration modern-day issues: teenage peer pressure, social cliques and the impact of social media use.

“I think it is important that our audiences know Kaplan has created a world that exists in a Shakespearean universe but should also know that the play is not Shakespeare; it is a very modern teenage depiction,” Assistant Director Kristi Hiner said. “You do not have to have a vast knowledge of Romeo and Juliet to enjoy the play. Its meaning comes in the discovery of who these characters are and how they grow as teenagers.”

To clear her name, Rosaline, played by senior Emily Hammond, enlists the help of her two best friends: Jack, played by senior Daisy Carmon, and Hilary, played by senior Benji Wright. They devise the plan to film confessions, via their cellphones, of all those who have some culpability in Romeo and Juliet’s deaths.

This includes characters from Shakespeare’s play like Friar Laurence, who is now Mr. Laurence, a guidance counselor at Fair Verona Prep, played by senior Danny Proaño, and original ones, like the leader of the “mean girls,” Madeline, played by junior Laynee Eslich.

Rosaline’s journey for answers is both comedic and heartbreaking as it takes some self-discovery on her part to accept the play’s outcome.

“We have had a lot of fun creating these characters from scratch,” Brett Hiner said. “There is no YouTube performance to watch for creative ideas or other cast/crew/production teams to bounce ideas off of. I am really proud of how well our group has embraced the challenge of truly being original, making this performance their own.”

Helping lead the cast with Hammond, Carmon, Wright, Proaño and Eslich are seniors Harrison Alexander, Soren Veney and Isabelle Castellucci; juniors Mara French and Jaelyn Frederick; sophomores Katie Snider and Grace Tawney; and freshmen Lydia Dunlap and Dane Kuzma.

Tickets for “Rosaline Wrecked It All,” being performed in the WHS Performing Arts Center, are now on sale and can be purchased at the door or by visiting www.ticketpeak.co/whsdrama. They are $10 for adults or $8 for students and senior citizens.

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