On Thursday December 6, in room I-11, the Sheltered Theater program performed a show for the people of Santa Barbara. Every year Sheltered Theater performs a classical play, usually Shakespeare. This year, students put on a performance of Romeo and Juliet.
The show took place in Mr. Levien’s classroom, where actors and patrons alike were packed into the portable. The transformation of the classroom into a theater was deftlydone, desks and chairs disappeared and a stage took their place.,
Audience members thoroughly enjoyed the show, and the actors’ enthusiasm during their opening night was palpable.
Senior Osein Solis played Benvolio, and had to learn his role in only two weeks, after the original Benvolio dropped out.
“I think our performance was great, I really liked it,” said Solis. “There was a lot of energy and everyone did really well.”
Members of the program include english learners, special ed students, at risk youth, and mentors who help to lead the class. Students who would usually be segregated, such as honors students, AP students, special needs students, college prep students, and english learners, are all mixed together for Sheltered Theater. Everyone gave their best effort in putting on the play. One student performance that stood out during the performance was that of Kayleigh Murphy. Murphy is one of the students who served as a role model for the others, a volunteer who has had training in theater prior to her work in Sheltered Theater. Everyone had passion in their respective performances, with differing levels of acting skill set aside.
“It was really fun,”said junior Fernando Hernandez, who played Romeo. “I really enjoyed performing in the play. It was a learning experience, it allowed me to socialize with people I’ve never met before, and it taught me how to communicate with people I wouldn’t normally talk to.”
I do not normally attend theater performances. When I am forced to attend, I do not often enjoy them. Sheltered Theater’s performance of Romeo and Juliet was incredibly entertaining. I am glad I was able to see the results of months of hard work from a unique group of individuals, people who would have never interacted with each other otherwise. The members of the Sheltered Theater production included people who a couple of months ago could not speak fluent English, people who could not find the motivation to continue with their education and people who can not stand up from a chair. Seeing them all brought together on a stage by the work of a man who died hundreds of years ago was a remarkable thing and I am glad I witnessed it.