Live Theater: Romeo and Juliet at the New American Shakespeare Tavern

J.C. Long and Veronika Duerr as Romeo and JulietI took our ninth grade class to the New American Shakespeare Tavern to see a production of Romeo and Juliet today. My students were well-behaved, which is always a concern for every teacher on a field trip. We all really enjoyed the production. As a long-time fan of the Georgia Renaissance Festival, I am always excited to see GARF performers at the Tavern. J.C. Long, who has played with the musical group the Lost Boys, played the part of Romeo, and he was excellent. Nicholas Faircloth as Mercutio was also brilliant. In fact, the whole cast was wonderful; if you are ever in Atlanta, you really must try to catch a production at the Tavern.

One of the things my students said they liked about the theater experience was the interactivity. The actors frequently played off audience members, which made us all feel like a part of the show. Of course, I know it is often said an audience is a critical part of a successful show, but I’m not sure I always feel so necessary when I’m in an audience. Actors at the Tavern have a way of making you feel as if you are necessary.

This evening as I was talking with my husband, I realized I had made a connection between Web 2.0 and theater. I forgot to keep one of the handy cast lists that the Tavern places on every third seat or so, and I was researching the names of the cast members online. I found the Tavern’s MySpace page as well as those of some of the cast. I added some of them as friends. In his reply to my friend-request message, J.C. Long complimented my students’ engagement and enthusiasm, and I thought, when else have we been able to take down walls like those between actors and audience? Five years ago, I never could have imagined I could see a production, find one of the actors on a social network, and personally compliment him on his performance…. AND receive a personal reply.

It’s an exciting time to be alive, isn’t it?