|Romeo and Juliet (Claire Danes and Leonardo Di
I worked with a group of students in my class to write and produce a short dramatic work.
We were brainstorming ideas and one of my students suggested doing a version of Much Ado About Nothing. I thought that was a great idea but the rest of the students in her group weren’t exactly excited about it. So, I suggested Romeo and Juliet and for a different spin on it I said, “What if Juliet didn’t die?”
I originally was thinking that she would stab herself like she did in the original play but it wouldn’t kill her. So then she goes skydiving without a parachute and still doesn’t die. She then tries killing herself in all sorts of novel ways.
Admittedly, there isn’t much a story there to perform on the stage. Thankfully, my students realized this problem and didn’t entertain my original idea for very long.
They knew that Romeo poisoned himself over his grief in the original play and they decided to riff on that for their version. This time, Romeo gets poisoned and Juliet’s friends try to discover who the murdered him.
I was so impressed with their story. It works so well on the stage. It is full of suspense and humour and gives them nice parts to act out. They even played music between all of the scene changes. It was a beautiful performance and they were so into it because they wrote it.
Here is the opening scene . . .
Try having your students write and produce their own short plays. It’s a great way to tie in Language Arts and Drama, while having your students work cooperatively in small groups.
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