Verona Heights by Chloe Whitehorn
In the hallways of Verona High another fight breaks out between the Capulet Crew and the Montague Boyz, the high school’s rival cliques. It seems that Samantha, one of the cheerleaders, publicly insulted another girl on Snapchat and the principal (”Yo, call me Prince ‘cause I’m your pal”) tries unsuccessfully to mediate between the students. Verona Heights is a present day adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, exploring the role peer pressure plays in breeding an atmosphere of violence and the tragic consequences caused by the hierarchy of high school social groups.
Interspersing Shakespeare’s original prose with modern day teenage slang, Verona Heights follows the original plot using language teenage audiences and actors relate to. Juliet’s older sister Cydney, captain of the cheerleading squad and head of the Capulet Crew, believes Juliet should stop hiding in the library and start acting like the future prom queen she should be. Dating Paris, the new exchange student, would be a step in the right direction. Romeo’s friends can’t fathom why, when he’s got the swag that he does, instead of ruling the school with the Montague Boyz he’s moping around over some girl. And then they meet.
Verona Heights is a love story, a comedy, and a glimpse into the tragic possibilities of high school violence and hate.
Keywords: high school, Romeo and Juliet, adaptation, love, death, Shakespeare, large cast, students, peer pressure, social media, violence, cliques, clicks, bullying, slang
Genre: Adaptation, Comedic Tragedy
Run Time: 75 minutes
Suitable for students 14+
Cast size: 18 actors
Male Cast: 8
Female Cast: 10
Casting note: Genders can be inconsequential with minor wording changes. Large cast, can accommodate more than 18 by adding non-speaking group members.