Romeo and Juliet Cast Interview: Bryce

Bryce Bennyhoff

Role in CB Productions’ Romeo and Juliet: Friar Laurence

I am 17 years old and currently in 11th grade. Most of the classes I’m taking this year are PSEO classes through the University of Northwestern in Roseville. Being involved in the arts has been an amazing experience and is one of the biggest highlights of my high school experience. I really have no idea what the future has in store for me, but I definitely plan to keep the arts in my life by auditioning for different plays, taking music lessons, and attending a variety of shows.

It’s impossible for me not to gush about what CBP and theater have done for me, but I’ll try to keep it short… I was really “theatrical” as a child but became much quieter as a teen (I still kind of am). Once I started classes with Carla, I became more comfortable in front of others. I’ve learned so much about the importance of theater and the beauty of how shows can affect the audience. Working together with fellow actors as a team to create a show has also been a very valuable and fun experience for me. Everything about being in these plays has been awesome and every aspect has helped me in one way or another.

List all the CBP shows you’ve been involved in. List any other theater experiences you have had since participating.

  • And Then There Were None – 2015 (General Mackenzie)
  • Oliver Twist – 2016 (Mr. Grimwig)
  • Emma – 2016 (Mr. Elton)
  • Robin Hood – 2017 (Prince John)
  • Our Town – 2017 (Stage Manager)
  • Romeo and Juliet – 2018 (Friar Laurence)

Other than CB I’ve been involved in a few theater programs at my church

 

What has been one of your favorite memories of being in Romeo and Juliet?

I think one of my favorite memories (and I guess this goes for every show) is the time I get to spend with my fellow actors. I learn so much from them, and the support they give is awesome. The experience of putting on a show with others is something that builds strong friendships and fun memories.

 

Describe the character you play in the show and list some characteristics of your character that you admire.

What I’ve discovered about Friar Laurence so far is that he is very wise, but he also has moments of rashness. He is motivated by kindness and a desire for harmony. In the play, he serves not only as Romeo’s mentor, but his friend as well.  I admire how he manages to stay neutral in the feud between the warring families. I also think it says a lot about Friar Lawrence that Romeo (and Juliet) feel comfortable in going to him with their problems. I’m still learning a lot about who my character is, and I look forward to discovering more about him as the show progresses.

 

What are the challenges are you facing while working on Romeo and Juliet?

A person I love to hear talk about Shakespeare (other than Carla of course!) is the famous actor Sir Ian McKellen. He compares acting Shakespeare to a famous pianist, saying,

“I didn’t know whether he was putting the music into the piano or whether he was taking it out of the piano. And acting at its best, Shakespeare, I think, is of that nature. That the actor is the playwright and the character simultaneously.”

I love this comparison, and it reveals one of my main challenges at this point. It’s easy to simply read Shakespeare and not actually live it, and when this happens it all becomes very boring.  My biggest challenges currently are bringing the original words of the play to life while also making this character my own.

 

Briefly highlight what are you learning from this show. How will you apply your learning to your life beyond the show?

Because Shakespeare can be extremely hard to understand, I’ve learned a lot about how to communicate and express myself in this show. This includes not only verbal communication but physical communication as well. There are many themes in Romeo and Juliet, and I find I’ve already learned a lot from them. The show is just as much about hate as it is about love, with the two families’ age-old feud. It’s a great lesson of how destructive (and pointless) holding a grudge can be. It’s also a great lesson of how love (excuse the cheesiness here) has the power to overcome even the deepest hatred and inspires us to overcome hatred with love as well. There are many great tools and lessons I’ve already been learning from this show, and I look forward to applying them to my life.