Juliet Lives – A Play Written by My Students

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 . . . 

Narrator: “Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona, where we lay our scene. This time though, Verona is the name of the small café where Romeo and Juliet are having a nice date. But unbeknownst to the young lovers, someone poisoned Romeo’s drink while he was indisposed and while Juliet was distracted on the phone.”
(Romeo enters, takes a drink, and falls down dead.)
Juliet: “No, Romeo!” (She tries to revive him)
Narrator: “When Juliet can’t revive him, she takes a knife from the table and . . .”
(Juliet stabs herself and falls down beside Romeo.)
Narrator: “And never was there a tale of more woe than that of Juliet and her Romeo”
(The surgeon enters, checks Romeo’s pulse, and moves on to Juliet and starts attending to her.)
Surgeon: “She’s still alive.”
Narrator: “Is he?”
Surgeon: “Who said that?”
Narrator: “Me. I’m the narrator.”
Surgeon, “Oh, okay”
Narrator: “Is he still alive?”
Surgeon: “No, no. He’s long gone.”
Narrator: “This isn’t the Romeo and Juliet story I remember.”
Surgeon: “This is a modern spin of the famous tale. They didn’t have the best medicine back then.”
Narrator: “That makes sense. So moving along. Juliet wakes up at the surgeon’s office.”

Want to Read More? 

Download the PDF script of Juliet Lives

Try Guided Script Writing with Your Students

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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2 responses to “Juliet Lives – A Play Written by My Students”

  1. I love this idea. It will tie in nicely to a Shakespeare unit I have for my grade 7/8s at the end of the year. Sadly it is only in paper format or I would send it to you. Tell your students they had me in stitches with their writing.

  2. Hi Amber,

    Thanks for saying that! We are all very proud of this play!

    Does your school's photocopier work as a scanner? The ones at my school do. You can place them in the feeder and set it to "scan" instead of "copy" and then get the file emailed to yourself.

    I scan stuff all of the time to get a digital copy that I can put on my smartboard whenever I want.