Romeo and Juliet, African Students Style

I’ve never reviewed a play before. Here goes nothing: I went to the African Students Association’s production of Romeo and Juliet last week, and it was amazing. The end. Kidding, kidding. I’m not going to attempt to write a formal (or even all that telling) of a review. I never really thought I could ever be into theatrical productions. The first play I ever watched was a Stratford production of Julius Caesar, and I’m pretty sure that I fell asleep halfway through. I didn’t get classical theatre. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. This production of Romeo and Juliet, though, I’d watch again and again if it were still running. Vanessa Jev, the director of the play and the ASA’s current president, reworked the classic into a modern-day African (my guess would be Nigerian, with a few Jamaican expats) tale. The play opened with the Chorus — narrator — storming on stage to deliver the prologue, only instead of a narrator, it was the Capulet's nosy domestic help, and instead of a prologue, she was gossiping with her friend about the plight of the famous lovers. It was funny, creative, and brought back memories of the "town gossip" back in my town in Kenya. Romeo and Juliet isn't a traditionally happy or humorous play. Vanessa and the cast put together a show that was funny all the way through without taking away from the original story. Because I was familiar with Romeo and Juliet (it's been drilled into my mind throughout my school career, like most others), I could sit back and enjoy the originality of this particular production without worrying about following the story. Overall, I was extremely pleased with ASA's production of Romeo and Juliet. My new thing is going to be attending student-produced theatre...I can't believe this is what I've been missing out on, and I refuse to miss out on anything else!  

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