The Romancers, a play put on in Florida Gulf Coast University’s Black Box Theatre, was surprisingly hilarious. The cast put a lot of work into finding motivation for their roles.
Two FGCU students played the role of two old men. Female FGCU actresses played the two old fathers. At certain points I forgot the actresses were not boys; the costumes and the acting was convincing enough to make me believe in the two old fathers. Everyone involved in the play was extremely committed, and it was obvious in the performance.
The chemistry between the two main characters — a young boy, and a young girl separated by lies and a wall dividing their fathers’ properties — seemed tangible as they worked well together. One would push the other’s performance to the next level. The play grew better as the storyline developed.
My favorite aspect of the play was the use of mimes in the transitions from scene to scene. The white-faced characters opened the play with a near silent performance of Romeo and Juliet. There were five mimes: a sensitive mime, a cute mime, a crazy mime and the leader mime, all played by students. All the mimes incorporate their personalities without speaking, but as the play went on the sensitive mime gets some lines. The play needed more actors, so the mimes and the speaking roles could have been kept separate. The mimes were not only used in scene transitions, but throughout the play as farm hands, servants and other extras.
It’s assumed forbidden love is the strongest of all loves. These two fathers pretend to hate each other, build a huge wall to separate their properties, and forbid their kids from seeing the other. The old men have a secret plot; they think their kids will fall in love with each other because of their father’s fake quarrel. The children do fall in love, but when they discover their dad’s plot the boy runs away.
The rest of the play follows suave gentleman who loves money eventually reunites the two young lovebirds; the two grandfathers owed this man a decent sum, but would only pay him after their kids were married.
Laughs may have come in abundance, but the plot, acting and directing was captivating. The storyline was intriguing enough to keep me interested throughout the play. The actors were on point from lead to supporting roles. The Romancers had its final showing on Nov. 17.
*Eddie Moore III and Tyler Layton both contributed to this report.