Young People’s Theatre Newcastle

Spotlight On: Our Juliets

Spotlight On: Our Juliets

5 minute read // Published by Young Peoples Theatre, January 2022
Written by Nicholas Thoroughgood

 

Opening 18 February, our next production at YPT is Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet is directed by Nicholas Thoroughgood and features YPT students and adult members. The role of Juliet is shared between two young actors, Mikala Boyd and Maddison Farley who Nick recently interviewed about their process in this production.

What’s it like taking on such a classic role like Juliet?

Maddi: It’s honestly crazy, this was my first time even auditioning for a production and I couldn’t have been more grateful to land such an iconic role. There definitely is a kind of pressure that comes with playing such a well-known character, but I’m excited to see how the audience enjoys our take on Juliet.
Mikala:
Taking on such a classic role as Juliet has been rather difficult because so many people have played her beforehand, so I had to make a clear distinction between their performances and my interpretation.

What has playing the role taught you about the character?

Maddi: When reading Romeo & Juliet, I always thought Juliet was this young, timid, and naive little girl who foolishly risks everything in an attempt at achieving true love, but this play has introduced me to a completely different side of her, one who’s so intelligent and strong minded, it completely changed my outlook on the entire plot.
Mikala:
Through playing her I have learnt a lot about her inner thoughts and discovered that she is actually quite smart and cunning, something I didn’t realise before.

When performing in a shakespearean play, what has been your process with language?

Maddi: Going into this, I had absolutely no clue how I was going to learn my lines, but I found that the language is one of my favourite parts about performing this play. I started by learning how to say each line in the correct meter, which made it so much easier to memorise, as I realised how each line fits together, and how to make my monologues flow.
Mikala:
Firstly, I’d do a cold read of the lines, then go back and decipher the meaning behind it. I’d look up any words I didn’t know, and any difficult phrases I would repeat over and over until fluent.

Have you enjoyed working with a Shakespeare text?

Maddi: Absolutely, it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences and I’ve learnt so much already. My favourite part by far is Shakespeare’s many metaphors he uses throughout the play. They’re all just so beautiful and are what made me fall in love with this text in the first place.
Mikala:
I have absolutely adored working with a Shakespeare text, the poetic flow, dramatic tendencies and jokes are so fun to portray. I loved the challenge of working out how to show what a character is saying, not necessarily through the words.

Has this production changed the way you see the play? How?

Maddi: This production has shown me a completely different side of most of the characters in Romeo & Juliet, not just my own, and it’s been so interesting to see them all come alive in rehearsals.
Mikala:
This production has changed the way I see the play drastically. I think of it less as a romance and more as a tragedy. There are some moments in the play that really hit hard emotionally. 

In your mind, what is unique about this version of Romeo & Juliet?

Maddi: I feel like our version differs from the original in quite a few ways, which is very exciting to me. I think each and every line holds a different kind of significance and meaning that I never thought of before, and the creativity and attention to detail with the set design and costuming is one of my favourite parts of our production, which I hope the audience appreciates just as much as I do. I even remember saying in my interview, that even if I didn’t get a role in the show, I just couldn’t wait to watch it after seeing Nick and the rest of the directing teams’ concept.
Mikala:
This version is very unique, I find the build up of desperation and madness of the lovers are really emphasised, and the love is grounded in so many other emotions. The way it moves into the abstract towards the end truly helps the audience to feel the emotional pain of the characters.

You can catch Mikala and Maddi in alternating performances of Romeo and Juliet, playing at YPT from 18 February. Tickets at ypt.org.au/bookings 

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