The final show of the eldest gel’s high school production of Romeo & Juliet is this evening.  Mrs. Robbo and I are scheduled to work the concession stand in the lobby, but hopefully I’ll be able to see the bulk of the performance.  Of course, I’ll let you know what I think.

At any rate, I was idly glancing through the playbill brought home from one of the earlier performances when my eye fell on the following lines highlighted at the bottom of the inside cover:

“All weapons depicted in this production are theatrical stage props, not authentic weapons.  Their presence in this school, and their use by our students, strictly follow Port Swiller County Public Schools regulations.  (Code of Virginia, Section 18.2.308.1.3)”

I admit that, to a certain extent, ol’ Robbo lives under a rock and is not always up on current practices, but I have to ask:  Seriously?  Have we really reached the point in this God-forsaken, schizophrenic “culchah” where somebody actually feels it necessary to put this kind of language in a freakin’ high school playbill?

What happens if it’s left out?  Will somebody hit the “zero tolerance” button and cause the kid playing Tybalt to be thrown out of school on his ear and possibly jailed?  Will audience members panic if they aren’t spoon-fed an assurance that the stage weapons aren’t real?

Cor lumme, stone the crows.

UPDATE:  Well, it’s a wrap.  It’s been some years since I last visited R&J.  Star-cross’d lovers? No, stupid teenagers (if that’s not being redundant).  My automatic reaction to most of the pair’s mooning was, “Oh, knock it off and go do your homework.”

The production itself was, well, kinda meh.  It seemed to be set in the vague near-future, with everyone wearing semi-goth leather and people in the background texting each other.  The backdrops were nothing more than some vague skyscraperish outlines.  A big two-story scaffolding ran across the back of the stage, on which there was much sky-larking.  The party scene involved some appalling techno-pop musick.  As for the much-feared armaments noted above, everybody actually seemed to be carrying steak knives.

The acting was, as is usual with high school productions I believe, mixed.  The kid playing Mercutio was having a lot of fun chewing the scenery and Tybalt was perfectly cast with a big, loutish looking fellah (who I’m sure is really quite nice in person) whose glowering, hot-headed approach to everything was the wish to run it through.   As for the star couple, see my reaction above.  This wasn’t tragedy in the sense of Lear or Othello or Macbeth, this was melodrama.  What Would Justin Beeber Do?

Then there was Friar Lawrence.  Or in this case, “Sister” Lawrence.  (Although this presented some serious theological issues regarding the receiving of confession and the performance of a marriage, I’m inclined to think it was a matter of available talent rayther than some calculated swipe at HMC.)  What was it about the Willster, friars and hair-brained schemes involving faked deaths?  Much Ado is the only other play of his I can think of off the top of my head that involves a friar’s input into the plot, and damme if he doesn’t do the same sort of thing there.  (Of course in that case it worked.  But how easily Claudio could have gone off the rails at Hero’s “death” had the Bard been disposed to take a darker turn.)

As for the eldest gel, as I noted she was in the ensemble, which meant that she didn’t have much to do other than mill about in the background in certain scenes and contribute to crowd reactions.  (I’m reminded of that trial sketch from a very early Monty Python episode where the entire ensemble, upon the entrance of a new character, cries out in unison, “Inspector Dim? Consternation! Uproar!”)  But after all, that’s what frosh are for.  She seems to have enjoyed the experience overall, and hopefully will get involved in more productions, eventually taking some more prominent parts.

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