by Tanessa Dillard
“Romeo’s Garden,” a play based loosely on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” explores the classic story from a new perspective. In the new tale, Juliet loves Romeo, but Romeo does not know the meaning of love. The play captures his journey.
“It’s a trip through Scot McElvany’s brain,” said sophomore S. Baker Eatmon, who plays a prophetic rodeo clown.
According to senior theater major McElvany, who wrote the piece, “Romeo’s Garden” is more of an experimental performance than a play. He said it is very much based on visuals and includes elements of modern dance.
“I want people to get caught up in the atmosphere,” said McElvany. He said it is not necessary for the audience to understand the plot. “Words are only the surface of what we’re talking about. Whether people hear the words—that’s not really the point.”
Junior Erik Johnson plays Romeo. Freshman Lisa Manley is Juliet. Other characters are Ben, played by sophomore Veero Der-Karabetian, and junior Stacey Williams, who along with Eatmon, is a clown. Junior Jamie Bigornia is a dancer in the piece.
Although McElvany has acted before, he decided early on not to appear “Romeo’s Garden.”
“This is the most complete script I’ve written,” he said.
McElvany also directed “Dreamers” last semester.
“There’s no message to the story. What the hell would I know? I’m a 22-year old artist,” said McElvany.
The rodeo clowns serve as Romeo’s internal thoughts. They are his source of power and become the substance behind the words.
A major element in the visual presentation of “Romeo’s Garden” is an image of Barbie dolls being pushed up from the ground.
“The image of Barbie dolls being pushed through a mound of soil makes me laugh,” said McElvany. “What a brilliant experience.”
McElvany also describes the play as experimental and strange.
“Romeo’s Garden” opened last night. It runs tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in the Cabaret. Admission is $1 for students, $3 for general admission.