‘Romeo and Juliet’ returns to DVC stage after a decade


Cyle Swanstrom, top right, and Atessa McAleenan-Morrell, bottom right, prepare for the struggle scene between Romeo and Tybalt with Dennis McCaffrey, top left, and James Udom, bottom left. (Sean Wilkey / The Inquirer)

After over a decade, Romeo and Juliet will once again make their appearance at the DVC theatre.

“Romeo and Juliet,” directed by Nicole Diestler, is the first production to take place this semester. Diestler has directed eight productions out of 30 that have taken place in her last six years working at the college. The last time “Romeo and Juliet” was done, it was set in a very contemporary style. Nicole, however, plans to stray away from that.

“I’m going for more of a realism perspective,” Diestler said. “I want to tackle the relationship dynamics. It will allow students to experience multifaceted relationships.”

The play is one she is very familiar with. Although it’s a piece that’s recognizable by a large amount of people, Diestler is going to portray it in a fashion that not many are familiar with.

The play will be set in A.D. 8 when the world is transitioning with the rise of Christianity. During this time, Jewish people were under the Roman Occupation and are getting caught up in their personal desires, choices, and earthy distractions. Ultimately, they are losing their focus on God.

“I’m trying to go back in time and still keep it plausible,” Diestler said.

The Montagues and Capulets are both Jewish families; the Capulets are trying to be accepted by the Romans to preserve peace and safety.

“I set the play during a time where people are going through the realm of placing people above God,” Diestler said. “Romeo and Juliet are to be sacrificed. Both winding up dead was God’s way of claiming these two innocent lovers as sacrifice.”

Romeo will be played by James Udom and the part of Juliet will be performed by Josette Canilao.

Udom, who is currently in his third year at DVC, originally wanted the role as Tybalt.

“The production team saw something in me that I didn’t,” Udom said. “I’m extremely grateful toward them.”

Josette Canilao was just as excited to be assigned her own part.

“Who doesn’t want to be Juliet?” Canilao said. “She dies twice. She gets to fall in love. There are so many good things about the part.”

Diestler was extremely pleased with the casting choices. “I want to see students who are up for the challenge and are willing to meet the bar,” Diestler said.

Diestler herself sets up a fun atmosphere for everyone involved in the production.

Maiya Corral, who plays the part of Rosaline, performed with Diestler last Spring semester for the production “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.”  She was thrilled to get the opportunity to work with Diestler again.

“I love performing,” Corral said. “Everyone is so passionate. Nikki takes a personal stance on the plays and it’s so much fun working with her. We all love the craft. We’re a big family.”

The show opens Oct. 14-Nov. 6. The performances will be every Friday and Saturday at 8p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.


Staff writer Zuli Mohammad contributed to this article.