“Besas muy bien,” says Julieta to her Romeo, the two played here by Rachel N. Leishman (’20) and Maximillian M. Wright (’22). Romeo stares back in confusion until Julieta sighs and translates, “You kiss by the book.”
Shakespeare probably never imagined his lovers in fair Verona as bilingual, but BYU’s Young Company did and brought them to life in Romeo y Julieta, a condensed version of the classic tale in Spanish and English.
Performing in more than 30 school shows and workshops, the company used the two-language approach to highlight the play’s themes of miscommunication and empathy. “A lot of kids saw the miscommunication,” especially young members of the Latino community, says Spanish teaching major Natalie A. Jennings (’18), who portrayed Señora Capuleto. “[The Spanish-speaking children] got so excited. . . . It was their moment to shine.”