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Romeo, Juliet Meet Day Of The Dead At RHS
RHS Romeo
Romeo, played by Adrian de Anda, delivers one of his soliloquies in the plaza during an RHS drama department presentation of Romeo and Juliet. Here, the play is set during a Dia de los Muertos celebration, staged at the Black Box Theatre on campus. Ric McGinnis/The News
RHS Garcia
In keeping with the Dia de los Muertos backdrop, Sheyla Garcia is in colorful costume as she dances in the tragedy Romeo and Juliet on campus at Riverbank High School. Ric McGinnis/The News

The Drama Department at Riverbank High School staged a classic Shakespearean play this past week … but in a far from traditional setting.

The Black Box Theatre was converted to a plaza when the Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet met Dia de los Muertos for a very colorful presentation on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. There were daytime stagings for RHS students on Thursday and Friday as well.

Originally, the play is set in Verona, Italy, but local theatre goers should not have been surprised to see the different staging here. A little online research shows that Romeo and Juliet has been staged many different ways over the centuries.

In addition to the traditional Elizabethan staging, the tragedy has seen many productions on film, as musicals and dramas, and even as a ballet.

Riverbank’s latest iteration was adapted for the Black Box Theatre by former drama teacher Stacy Bauer.

The RHS production started out in a village plaza, where most of the action occurred, and began with some colorful dancing. Of course, there was the obligatory ‘balcony’ scene along the way, staged here on a winding, circular staircase.

The cast included Adrian de Anda and Krystal Cerda in the title roles. The nurse was played by Jessica Canfield, Benvolio by Rae Nattress and George Gastellum as Mercutio.

Cecilia Temps was Lady Capulet and Tiana Sancha played Lady Montague, of the warring factions at the heart of the play.

The program for the play listed 19 student cast members, including dancers Gisele Montelongo and Sheyla Garcia who appeared early on. The crew for the production numbered almost as many, but several took on more than one task. It included Stage Manager Cali Laughlin and Assistant Jocelyn Ayala.

The costumes were created by Luz Armeta.

This production was the Drama Department’s fall offering, and teacher Lezlie Aker is planning a version of Lion King for the spring.

Adrian de Anda and Krystal Cerda act as Romeo and Juliet at the Black Box Theatre last week on the Riverbank High School campus. It was the fall production by the RHS Drama Department, presented last Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Ric McGinnis/The News
RHS Montelongo
Gisele Montelongo is one of several dancers who helped set the stage for the Riverbank High School Drama Department’s production of Romeo and Juliet. This time, however, the tragedy is set during the Dia de los Muertos celebration, so everyone is dressed accordingly. Ric McGinnis/The News
RHS Weeping
Mercutio, on the floor, played by George Gastellum, is mourned by Benvolio, played by Rae Nattress, after his death following a staged knife fight scene. It was part of the RHS Drama Department’s recent production of Romeo and Juliet in the Black Box Theatre. Ric McGinnis/The News