South Production To Bring Laughs and Italian Accents

By Maddie Conway

Staff Writer

Romeo, oh Romeo, Wherefore art thou Romeo?

The answer?

As the students involved in South Middle School’s drama program prepare for the mid-October opening of its fall production of Nathan Hartswick’s suspense-comedy Death by Dessert, a more modern Romeo is busy busing tables on the set of a makeshift Italian restaurant in Arlington Heights.  

The production will be put on by sixth through eighth grade students at one of Prospect’s main feeder schools.

Death by Dessert is a comedic version of Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet that involves two neighboring rival Italian restaurants in New York City’s Little Italy, where the two families find themselves at odd with each other yet again as the landlord of their building is found dead and the victim narrates the attempts to solve the murder and end the feud.

With this production of Death by Dessert comes a new addition to a South production: a three-course meal. During the intermission, the cast members will treat the audience to salad, pasta, and chocolate cake, the cost of which will be covered in the ticket price.  There will also be entertainment, including song, dance, and a musical number that will be performed by the waiters themselves, as the audience enjoys the food.

Also, the audience members will have the opportunity to vote for the solution to the mystery, making the show more interactive than others at South have been previously.

South Drama Director  Patty Dixon chose to take a new path with this year’s fall play, the previous of which have traditionally been either classics such as Our Town or Shakespearian productions. Dixon saw that South had not put on a dinner theater or a murder mystery  and changed this with choosing to direct Death by Dessert.

Elizabeth Konopacki, an eighth grade cast member who has been involved with South’s drama program since she was in the sixth grade, believes that this will keep the audience captivated throughout the show. She says that its combination of suspense and comedy will make Death by Dessert even more enjoyable; within the play, the murder is surrounded by comic relief, which helps to balance the two aspects of the production.

Death by Dessert will be performed at South Middle School on October 22 and 23 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 and include both seats and the meal at the intermission; to order or for more information, contact South at (847) 398-4250.

Audience members can expect Italian accents, pasta served by seventh-grade waiters, and laughs to accompany them at the show. The best part of the show, Dixon said, will be those laughs; “Seeing the students pull off a comedy with great effectiveness will be the highlight,” she said.

“People will like the show because its both funny and entertaining; it’s going to be a crowd-pleaser,” Konopacki agreed.