Juliet plays on but drama ends in hospital

O ROMEO, Romeo, where fore art th... ouch!

A drama student starring as Juliet in Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet wound up in hospital after the famous balcony fell on her head.

Colaiste Stiofáin Naofa (csn) drama student, Rachel O’Connell, 20, from the Old Youghal Road in Cork, spoke from her hospital bed yesterday of how the drama unfolded.

She had just finished the famous balcony scene during a preview in Cork’s Half Moon Theatre.

Ukrainian Vladimir Prishlyak, who plays Romeo, finished his line ‘But soft! What light through yonder window breaks’ and watched as Rachel climbed down.

When a stage hand failed to appear to move the ladder, she decided to move it herself. But it collapsed and hit her on the head.

Rachel carried on with the show but was taken to Cork’s South Infirmary afterwards complaining of head pains.

“It sort of hit me later,” she said, “I felt sick and weak. There was a huge bruise across my forehead.”

The accident happened last Monday and a CAT scan later revealed bruising to her neck and brain.

“My vision was blurry and the headaches were killing me,” she said.

Rachel was kept in hospital for a number of days as a precaution.

Romeo visited her dressed in full costume, with a bunch of flowers.

But Rachel, who hasn’t been put off acting, hopes to go on with the show which opens tonight.

“I’ve been going over the play’s lines in my head for the last few days and hopefully I’ll make it on stage tonight,” she said.

The csn Dramask production is the students’ graduating showcase and features a soundtrack including The Prodigy, Placebo, Tony Bennett and Chopin.

“We wanted to make the play accessible to a 21st century audience, so we have used a cinematic approach,” said director Marion Wyatt.

“We condensed the scenes so it’s only two hours long, which is just about right, otherwise the audience might start to get a bit restless.”

There are two Juliets, played by Rachel and Charlotte Murphy, 20, from Wexford.

Tybalt is played by Rory Hanrahan, aged 25, who is originally from Kerry but has lived in Cork for a number of years.

* Romeo And Juliet runs at The Half Moon Theatre from tonight until April 13 at 8.30pm. Tickets from box office (021) 4270022.

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