Published: Mar 04, 2012 02:00 AM
Modified: Mar 03, 2012 05:07 PM
Apex native performs alternative 'Romeo and Juliet' in Durham
Apex native pens alternative
What if Romeo were a girl and Juliet were a girl, and their cast of supporting characters diverse: straight, gay and transgendered?Apex native Victoria Tucci will present and star in "Romeo and Juliet: Forbidden Love Comes to North Carolina," March 14-17 at the Common Ground Theatre in Durham. Tucci hopes to initiate a conversation about the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in North Carolina. Voters will decide the question in May.While Tucci was attending Apex elementary, middle and high schools, her parents instilled in her a love of the theater and a love of service. After getting degrees in theater and nonviolent studies at Elon University, Tucci moved to New York City and attended the Circle in the Square Theatre School. She graduated in 2010 and has been working as an actor ever since.Q: How did you come up with the idea for your "Romeo and Juliet"?I was driving home from a friend's wedding the week after the legislation passed (to put the same-sex marriage ban on the May ballot). I had seen a production of "Romeo and Juliet" with a lesbian cast, but I wanted to stage it as a classical version with a twist. We are sticking as close to the traditional text as possible, but we changed the pronouns. I wanted to communicate that our story is the same. Why is a same-sex love story any different than a heterosexual one?Q: This is the first show you've produced. What have you learned?Friends have helped me with raising money and publicity - there has been a huge learning curve for me.Details like having to travel to North Carolina with four screens and a trunk have been interesting. But that's also the beauty of Shakespeare; you don't need a lot of fancy technical things.That said, there have definitely been creative and logistical challenges. Most of us in the cast have (jobs) waiting tables or catering jobs or nine-to-five jobs. We are working around everyone's schedules.Q: What is it like for you, coming home to stage a production in North Carolina?As I get older, and I start thinking about what my life plan would be, I can see setting up a theater in North Carolina. The people are so wonderful, and it's a great place to grow up.But that's also why I was so upset with this legislation. I felt like this would be shutting a door for me. I would not have the same rights as my two heterosexual sisters.North Carolina is usually more progressive than other places in the South. I think that people (outside North Carolina) don't give us a lot of credit, and this legislation feels like we're stepping backwards.Q: You hope the production helps educate others. Did you prepare the cast for what questions that might be asked?We will hold a "talk back" at the end of the show. Our cast is very diverse; there are straight, gay, lesbian and transgender members. We are trying to reflect who we are in our characters.We had a potluck at the beginning of the process, and it was clear that some people have a wonderful vocabulary and can speak eloquently about their viewpoints, and others are just beginning to learn. As a group, we are growing and learning to be more sensitive. We are growing and learning just as we hope the audience will.