For centuries the most pristine, proper and pompous actors have attempted to master the beauty of Shakespearean theater, only to become lost within the languid Elizabethan language of the iconic playwright.
For 10-year-old Victoria Romero, the words of the Bard simply flow trippingly on the tongue.
Romero will be portraying Beatrice, a feisty, quick-witted and sharp young woman, in production of Much Ado About Nothing.
“I think of it as when you’re in character it’s just like being yourself but with a mixture with another person,” she said.
The show, set to premiere June 1, has three casts in order to allow students to take on the role of their liking.
Romero knew without hesitation that the fiery role of Beatrice fit well for her theatrical debut.
“Let’s see... I’m bratty, I’m bossy, I’m sassy,” she laughed. “So, I guess it works.”
Sarah Coyle, Romero’s fifth grade teacher, began teaching "Much Ado About Nothing" through a creative learning experience.
“We did read it for an entire semester in class and we had the Elizabethan language side-by-side with the modern English version,” Coyle said. “I set it up by first acting out playground behavior, before even reading Shakespeare.”
The fifth and fourth graders of Coyle’s class were asked to play out scenes similar to ones in the famous late 16th century comedy, such as the Act III scene when two girls, Hero and Ursula, gossip about Signior Benedick liking Beatrice. So when Romero began the journey through thee’s and thou’s, she was well prepared.
“I like that she’s sassy,” Romero said. “I like the fighting scenes, it’s fun fighting with people, especially when you win like Beatrice.”
In several scenes, Beatrice and Benedick must strike quick quips toward each other, a game of wits that Romero knows well.
Romero recites one of her favorite lines. “I wonder that you’d still be talking Signior Benedick, nobody marks you” she performs in a sarcastic tone. In other words, she explains, Beatrice is saying, "Why are you talking? No one’s listening to you."
In her spare time Romero also likes to sing, dance and write. Romero has already authored two plays. Her first, “Diary of a Wimpy Chick,” was inspired by the popular children’s book and movie “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” She wrote the play because she wanted to have the perspective of a girl, Romero said, but not a “girly girl.”
“I did my own little theory,” Romero said. ““It was just made up because I was being coo-coo.”
An exceptional student, she surpasses her grade level across the board, Coyle said. Romero enjoys math and science more than any other subjects but has a special place for acting in her dramatic heart thanks to "Much Ado About Nothing."
Coyle, the producer of the production, works with director Tony Gapastione, an accomplished actor from the Bay Area, to direct the 12 fourth- and fifth-grade cast members. Gapastione is in association with Broadway by the Bay and the organization has agreed to cover the costs of costuming the young actors.
“It’s definitely a community effort,” Coyle said.
The community effort has made a significant difference to Romero’s future. The young performer said she hopes to pursue a career in acting in the future and study theater in college.
Romero beams with excitement when she thinks of her first opening night.
“It’s kind of like a mixture of nervousness with excitement, and then I really love to get into my character,” she said. “When I know I’m in my character it’s easier to be me.”