For SUNY Oswego students Owen West and Claire Bosley, playing the leads in the Theatre Department’s production of “Romeo and Juliet” has provided a real learning experience. The iconic piece opens at 7:30 p.m. on April 19 in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre. 

West, playing Romeo, is a freshman majoring in the music major track of audio design and production. Bosley, a senior double majoring in theatre and studio art, has been in eight other productions during her time at SUNY Oswego and will play Juliet. West and Bosley have different experiences when it comes to performing Shakespeare. 

“Romeo and Juliet is unique compared to other productions I've done in the fact that I have never performed a Shakespeare play before,” West said. “It has been a very unique experience and I have had to do things to prepare for the role that I have never done before.”

Bosley took a class two years ago called “Acting Shakespeare” from then-faculty member Toby Malone, which helped develop a better understanding of Shakespeare’s writing. 

Theatre faculty member Steven Mazzoccone directs this year’s production and made a lot of cuts to the original text to make it more accessible. He was able to cut the normally three-hour play down to 90 minutes.

“I think that the cuts Steven made make sense,” Bosley said. “‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a long play, why would we do all of it? So I think that the cuts are really well done in the sense that you really understand what’s happening.”

Using the heightened language of Shakespeare for a whole play is difficult, West said: “I had a lot more trouble with it in the beginning than I do now, but there is definitely a big learning curve.”

Bosley said that even with her added knowledge of Shakespeare, she is still learning the deeper meaning of some of the lines in the play.

“The text itself was easier for the actors to interpret, and once the actors have interpreted it, and they’re delivering these lines, a lot of the understanding in the audience is going to come from that line delivery,” Bosley said. 

This is the largest cast Bosley and West have worked with, as well as Mazzoccone. The rest of the cast includes Chrissy Guzman, Brock Whaley, Nick Sweet, Ian Katz, Kat McGreevy, Ziera Taylor, Sarah Berns, Sean Hurley, Ariana Palmer, Alexis Long, Michael Jacoby, Ben Capilets, Camryn Webber and Max Collins.

“Romeo and Juliet” will take place on April 19, 20, 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m., and a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on April 23. Tickets are free for SUNY Oswego students, and $10 for everybody else. Tickets are available via

-- Written by Gabrielle Kroeger of the Class of 2023