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UVU Combines Theater And Film For ‘The Romeo And Juliet Project’

3 June 2014 No Comment

June 3, 2014

For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Melinda Colton, 801-863-6807

Theater and film students at Utah Valley University are spending the summer preparing a production of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy, “Romeo and Juliet,” from two vantage points — his and hers. In preparing for the production, which will be performed in November at UVU, the students are using a distinctive mix of film and live action, giving this classic story a new perspective, new vision, and new life.

Eight months into development and pre-production, the script was cut for ease of filming and staging in a theater. Since the story is told through the eyes of the two young lovers, any scenes that did not interact with either Romeo or Juliet directly were cut. Ultimately, the final performance will be approximately one hour and 45 minutes in length and will be produced and directed by D. Terry Petrie, an associate professor of theater.

With little to no budget to produce the film portion, Petrie turned to his son, professional filmmaker Joel Petrie, who is also a former UVU student. Joel asked some close friends in the profession if they would step in and mentor a crew comprising UVU theater and film students.

Christopher Clark, department chair of theatre arts, and Petrie spoke to their various classes and asked for theater and digital media students to volunteer to crew the production. Petrie and Clark borrowed the necessary equipment from the digital media faculty and the professionals assisting them.

Initially, the idea was to film selected scenes, but Petrie filmed the entire production for “greater freedom and flexibility in the staging and to give the students a real world experience that builds their resume.” There are now plans to release the production as a feature film after the production is presented on stage.

“Students have taken advantage of our breaks to sit down with the professionals and pick their brains. They are networking. And they are figuring out that they’re building their futures,” Petrie said. “The students have really stepped up and are delivering on a professional level.” The professionals have also stepped up and truly become mentors.

“We’ve learned a ton along the way, and I’d like to do another project using the same model. I’d like to create a crew that is tiered with professionals and students, put them in a safe environment, and give them the tools to do the job,” said Petrie. “That is what engaged learning is all about.”

UVU’s “The Romeo and Juliet Project” will be staged in the Noorda Theatre Nov. 6-8, 10, 13-15, 17, 20-22 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee Nov. 15 at 2 p.m.

Joel Petrie and Devon Neff (Juliet)

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