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“Two households, both alike in dignity…”
It’s a story that’s been told a million times: two groups feud and innocent children must suffer to make them realize their hatred has gone on long enough. Such was the fate of these students from different clubs who had to learn they weren’t as different as they believed. Our tale begins at the top of a hill, in a small high school, where a young girl began moving towards a fate she could never have expected.
She wandered down the hallways of her new school and stopped in front of the first door with a sign, which read: “Shakespeare Club”. She looked down at a flyer in her hand and continued walking until she found the one that read: “Shakespeare Society”, and stepped inside. Several students were already gathered there, talking cheerfully. The room was the largest in the building and used for Chorus class during the day. However, now, it was dominated by a portion of the school’s Shakespeare fans.
A brunette in a beret and black dress stood and waved a hand to get the room’s attention. “Will everyone please take a seat so we can begin the meeting?” The students obeyed and she smiled, adjusting her glasses. “Thank you. First, I would like to welcome all of you to the first Shakespeare Society meeting of the year. You may call me Juliet and I am the president of the club, as well as a senior. I see a few new faces, so let’s have everyone go around and state your year and society name. For our new students, a society name is a name you pick from your favorite Shakespeare play. Members of the society will only refer to you by this name and you can’t pick a name that is currently in use by another student, so we will start with the returning students and let you hear the taken names.”
The president looked at a girl in the front row, who stood up. “Hi, I’m Rosalind and I’m a junior.” She had red curls and freckles across her nose. There wasn’t an ounce of fat on her and she was in danger of being scrawny. She wore plain jeans and a black t-shirt which read “Drama Queen” in pink letters.
As she returned to her seat, a short boy stood and grinned, brightly. He had sandy-blonde hair and green eyes that practically sparkled with mischief. “I’m Puck and I’m a junior.”
The girl frowned as she realized her desired name was taken. Puck was her favorite Shakespearean character and she’d hoped to represent him. However, looking at the boy, she knew he probably suited the character better. She quickly picked a new name as he sat down and another girl stood. This one had perfect golden waves and wore a form-fitting top with daisy-duke shorts that threatened to violate the school dress code. “I’m Desdemona and I’m a senior.”
As she sat down, a less glamorous blonde in a braid stood. “I’m Viola and I’m a junior.” She wore a plain t-shirt with a long-sleeve plaid one over it. Her jeans were professionally ripped.
A few other introduced themselves and the girl was relieved not to hear her second-choice name was in use by any of them.
Last, a tall, attractive boy in a blue polo and khakis stood. “I’m Romeo. I’m a senior and vice president.” He gave the president a telling smile. “And the love of her life.”
Juliet laughed and stood back up. “That’s enough from you.” Despite her sharp words, she smiled back at him, making it clear that they were, in fact, dating. He winked and sat down as she addressed the group, “Alright. Now, for the freshmen.” She looked at the girl. “What name would you like?”
“Titania,” she replied quickly, having had a moment to think it over. It was still from her favorite play and she did have a fondness for the fairy queen.
“Good choice.” Juliet smiled and looked at the other freshman, a boy in a purple shirt and tight skinny jeans with carefully-styled hair.
He smiled. “I’m going to go with Othello.”
“An interesting choice,” the president commented. “Alright. I guess that’s everyone. Welcome to the Shakespeare Society, not to be confused with the Shakespeare Club, which is a load of detestable maw.” The group laughed a bit.
Romeo and Juliet, which, apparently, determined which people joined which group. The society was built on the idea that the play was about pure hearts that overcame hate and led to peace between the families. Meanwhile, the club was founded on the idea that it was about two children who had a brief, shallow relationship that got people killed. Originally, there had been one club, but they had become divided when the club tried to perform the play and couldn’t decide on how to do it. In the end, nobody performed the play and it hadn’t been performed since. Titania had been surprised and pleased to learn that there was so much passion about Shakespeare among high school students. At the time, she failed to realize how dangerous their passion could be.
“So, the first order of business is our homecoming masquerade ball,” Juliet told them. “Remember, this is our biggest fundraiser for the semester because all the students are invited to buy tickets and attend. Also, we get to show our skills since all the members of the society are required to remain in character that night. I expect everyone to put your best feet forward.”