Romeo & Juliet: In Memoriam & Young Frankenstein Are Must See Theater! - TribPapers

Romeo & Juliet: In Memoriam & Young Frankenstein Are Must See Theater!

Young Frankenstein Photo by John Owens.

Asheville – While social media and online articles often belittle Gen Z, the generation that is currently teenagers, Asheville’s youth theater, The Montford Moppets, proves that theory wrong.

This strong group of young actors is not only consistently offering up solid, hilarious, and moving performances, but they are also creating their own content.

Their current production, Romeo & Juliet: In Memoriam, written by Elias Hamilton and Ronja Z. Nielsen (both recent graduates of The Montford Moppets), takes place after the iconic story ends and is ingeniously crafted using the original script.

Romeo & Juliet: In Memoriam Photo by Rachel Cort.
Romeo & Juliet: In Memoriam Photo by Rachel Cort.

The 18-year-old playwrights are both deeply skilled at understanding Shakespeare’s text. Because of that knowledge, they were able to reassign some of the lines and monologues to different characters, giving the Bard’s words new meanings. They also wrote some of their own passages so well that it is difficult to discern what is new and what isn’t.

The performances by this group of kids and teens are gut-wrenching and will pull tears and emotion from even the most jaded of audience members. The actors are truly “in” their roles, and I was utterly absorbed into their dark and sorrowful world.

Because of that, I was happy to learn that Sami Mills was their Intimacy Director for this production.

There is a great deal of misconception surrounding Intimacy Directors, specifically that they are only used when there is a simulated kissing or sex scene. In fact, they are for much more than just that. As Mills told me, “Our scope goes beyond physical intimacy, and we work to support our production teams with safe de-roling, closure practices, and mental health first aid.”

I saw some of this firsthand after the particularly impassioned rehearsal I attended. “De-roling” is the process of an actor getting out of the character they’ve been portraying. It’s especially important when the role is emotionally taxing, but it’s always necessary to maintain the mental health of the performers.

Watching the Moppets come out of the despair and anguish they displayed onstage was actually rather cathartic for me as well.

I would also like to point out that, while many individuals claim to be Intimacy Directors, there is a great deal of training that goes into achieving that title.

As Mills explained, “While we want as many consent-forward artists in as many spaces as possible, there is a big difference between an Intimacy Director and someone who has taken a few classes and thinks they are ready to take on a task many others have trained for years to do safely and effectively. Using a consent-forward artist is better than nothing, but if you have the opportunity to hire an experienced professional, it will be a lot safer. We aren’t entitled to much, but we are always entitled to safety.”

The Montford Moppets are our future. They are pushing boundaries and speaking truth to power. I am so glad they are being taken care of.

If you would like to see what the Moppets organization offers or see their production of Romeo & Juliet: In Memoriam (which runs through October 21st at Attic Salt Theatre), please visit their website:

High Satire & Low-Brow Humor Create a Perfect Recipe in Young Frankenstein!

If you’ve only seen the Mel Brooks classic Young Frankenstein on film, you are missing out on a truly uproarious experience!

Hendersonville Theatre has created a masterpiece with its production. From the highly detailed set design by Beth Norris to the ingenious lighting from Maddie Anderson, it is almost like stepping into the 1974 movie set.

Director Elizabeth DeVault leaned in to the absurd, irreverent, and often tongue-in-cheek humor, finding fresh jokes from the moment the curtain comes up all the way to the closing bow.

DeVault and choreographer Matilyn Hull also paid homage to a variety of iconic dances, which I won’t give away, but really take this musical up several notches.

Also noteworthy and supremely remarkable were the costumes, hairstyling, and makeup, expertly done by Amanda Mcloughlin and Cat Dotson, respectively.

Of course, none of this would work so well if it weren’t for the unbelievably impressive ensemble cast. Their acting, comedic timing, singing, dancing, and physical comedy skills all truly shine.

I laughed so hard and often that I had to take my inhaler several times.

Young Frankenstein runs through October 29th and is a wonderful way to celebrate the Halloween season.