A Look Back at CYSE--Romeo & Juliet

When I first started rehearsing with CYS, what took me aback was the people I was surrounded by. The entire cast was so dedicated to what they were doing. I had never worked with young actors who were so serious about their craft.

The entire team of CYS did an amazing job with introducing new techniques to us. We worked with Meisner, Suzuki, and Viewpoints. It was this program that completely changed me as an actor. Manon preaches honesty in the work. As an actor, I was pushed to go beyond my comfort zone, and that’s where I grew the most.

I still look back to the time I spent in CYS and I’m so glad I did it. I met some amazing people from all over the Chicagoland area. Some were from even further places. CYS has affected my life because I no longer look at acting the same way. After I completed this program, my high school director told me that I had this quality of being truthful that came out in my acting. I realized that the actor is enough and also that acting isn’t about acting at all, it’s about being truthful within the given circumstances of the play.

Shakespeare’s plays have a timeless message. I was surprised when I first learned that if anything, Shakespeare relates most to teenagers more than anyone else. For example, one of the themes in Romeo and Juliet is impulsive love. I doubt there is a teenager out there who doesn’t resonate with that. I know I do. In CYS, we dive into topics like this instead of shooting straight for the text. It’s important to fully understand the play first so that you can do justice to the playwright and respect their intentions.

I felt very supported by my ensemble members at CYS. Coming to rehearsal felt very safe and the rehearsal space became sacred. I really don’t have the words to describe this experience. I have grown so much from CYS. For any young artist out there who is ready to work, I’d say this is the place for you.



Karina Kohli is a CYS Winter Youth Ensemble Alum. She played Lady Capulet in the 2014 production of "Romeo & Juliet." A 2015 graduate of Main East High School, Karina is currently studying at the Atlantic Theater Conservatory in New York City.

Contact info


Chicago Youth Shakespeare
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Chicago, IL 60661


The fault, dear Brutus, lies not within the stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings. - Julius Caesar, I, ii

The course of true love never did run smooth. - A Midsummer Night's Dream, I, i

Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow. - Romeo and Juliet, II, ii

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so - Hamlet, II, ii

If music be the food of love, play on! - Twelfth Night, I, i

Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once. - Julius Caesar, II, ii

We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep. - The Tempest, IV, i

The quality of mercy is not strained; It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. - Merchant of Venice, IV, i