By: Ryan Haney
OK. Can I have the cast over here, please? Now, I know you ‘re all convicted felons s you ‘re used to being on the wrong side of the law, but what happened up on that stage tonight was a true crime. And as the director of this Augusta Correctional Center production of ‘Romeo and Juliet ‘ and a twenty-six year veteran of the Craigsville Community Theatre, I can tell you that the victim of that crime was ‘The Theatre. ‘ Anyway, visiting hours are almost over, so let ‘s just get into it.
First of all, Big Greg, I love that you ‘ve been working on getting into character, but just because you ‘re playing Romeo that doesn ‘t make whoever is playing Benvolio ‘your bitch, ‘ OK? Everyone is still responsible for their own props.
Red, it ‘s not the end of the world if you drop a few lines. You ‘re Balthasar, honey. No one is coming to see you. Just take a deep breath and keep moving, OK? Who would have thought that the church arsonist would be the one ‘freezing up, ‘ huh?
Lizard, I know nobody likes to be behind bars, but let ‘s try not to break the ‘fourth wall, ‘ alright? The Capulet party scene was lovely until you stepped center stage and told the audience that ‘D Block runs this motherfucker. ‘ Really took me out of it.
Balcony scene felt flat tonight. I know it ‘s tough with an all-male cast, but we have to find ways to inject some emotion into those lines. Let ‘s try this: Big Greg, you pretend that Skizzy is your girl that ‘s waiting for you on the outside. Skizzy, you pretend that Big Greg is that weird lady doll you made out of one of the wood shop aprons and your cellmate ‘s hair.
The second act dragged big time, fellas. We were missing cues. We were late on entrances. At that pace, Chokin ‘ Charlie is likely to hear about his re-trial before we get to the second act. By the way, good luck Chokin ‘ Charlie. We know you ‘re innocent, buddy.
Speaking of which, Brick, isn ‘t was a maximum security prison? Are you sure? Because we did a head count and your fight choreography seems to be missing. ‘Shiving ‘ may be effective in the ol ‘ chow hall, but for the last time it does. not. read. on. stage.
Clancy, I know you got locked up because you murdered and ate all those teens at that summer camp, but judging from the way you discovered Juliet in the tomb tonight, you like to chew the scenery too, ya sick freak. Pull it back.
Crank. Wow. Such a powerful moment when you started weeping in the middle of your Friar Laurence monologue. Did those words hit home because you ‘ve seen the devastating effects of violence firsthand? Well, the whole audience felt assaulted by your mushmouth tonight, friend. I don ‘t care if you start choking up with years of built up regret. You ‘ve still got to an. nun. ci. ate.
And I know I ‘m getting nit picky now, but the curtain call was an absolute mess. Half of you are bowing, half are telling the warden to ‘suck your dick. ‘ At this point, I don ‘t care what we do. Let ‘s just get on the same page.
I ‘m sorry if these notes are harsh boys, but I owe it to you, and to The Bard, to tell it like it is. And the threats of your ‘friends on the outside ‘ coming and ‘paying a visit to my family ‘ aren ‘t going to change anything, gentlemen. I live very much alone.