Making Amends at Romeo & Juliet

Making Amends at Romeo and Juliet

By Erin Frederick, Education Enrollment and Marketing Coordinator

L-R: Nicole Vazquez, Wyatt Fenner, Jonathan Louis Dent and Jenna Rapisarda in 'Romeo & Juliet.'  Photo by T. Charles Erickson
L-R: Nicole Vazquez, Wyatt Fenner, Jonathan Louis Dent and Jenna Rapisarda in Romeo & Juliet. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Each year, approximately 10,000 students attend Hartford Stage student matinee performances, one of Hartford Stage’s expansive education programs, which altogether serve approximately 20,000 students throughout the state.  These students come from all over the region, from Long Island to Boston and everywhere in between.  Of those students, approximately 4,300 are attending our production of Romeo and Juliet.  Out of all those students however, there happened to be two groups in attendance at our March 10 student matinee whose relationship with each other echoed the events portrayed onstage in Shakespeare’s  tale of a tragic feud.

A week before the performance, Farmington High School and Capital Preparatory Magnet School played each other in girls’ basketball.  When Capital Prep won, a group of Farmington fans began chanting “SAT Scores!  SAT Scores!”  While the Capital Prep students handled this gracefully, the situation understandably created a lot of bad blood between the two schools that was been covered by both the Hartford Courant and Fox61

While the feud simmered over the course of the following week, each school prepared for their upcoming trip to Hartford Stage to see Romeo and Juliet on March 10, unaware of the fact that they had made reservations on the same day.  On the morning of the performance, Farmington High was coincidentally seated behind Capital Prep.  While nerves were on edge before the show, soon the students were caught up in the performance, and then something incredible happened during intermission.  Said Capital teacher Lisa Loomis: “One of the young men from Farmington (since identified as Danny Ha) leaned over to one of my students and said, ‘I want to apologize on behalf of Farmington.  We’re not all like that.’”  Several of Danny’s classmates chimed in their apologies as well, and when the Capital students graciously accepted their apology, the two formerly feuding groups started a cheerful dialogue about the production.

At Hartford Stage, our mission statement is “To enlighten, entertain, and educate by creating theatrical works of the highest caliber that have a transformative impact on our field, our audiences and our community.”  On March 10, the remarkable students from Farmington High School and Capital Preparatory Magnet School showed us what that transformative impact looks like.  We at Hartford Stage would like to thank these students and their teachers, Katie Buckley and Lisa Loomis, for reminding us just how important that can be.