When the Classroom Became a Stage
November 22 , 2016
You would have smiled for the sweetness of Romeo and Juliet’s love, sighed for the sadness of their death, and finally, applauded when the music died.This was just one of our Pre-AP assignments. After studying Romeo and Juliet, we were asked to choose a part of the play that we liked best and then act it out with our with group members. We were required to memorize our lines, design the characters’ costumes, decide the tone, movement, and characters’ positions on the stage and all while keeping Shakespeare’s original language. We could use flashlights and music as we liked. In addition to memorizing and staging the lines, we needed to write a detailed promptbook that included the lines from the scene with tone and movement, reports about characters and the overall purpose, and then justifications of our costumes.
My group rearranged Act 5 Scene 3, which we chose to act out, by focusing on Romeo’s illusions after he drank the poison. In our design, Romeo reviewed his stories with Juliet in his mind, saying the exact same words as when they first met at the party or talked about their love on the balcony. Their lines were almost in reverse sequence in our performance, and their dialogues strongly foreshadowed their death. The rearrangement is quite difficult, but we succeeded and made it natural.
What’s more, our group explored many ways to maximize the tragic but beautiful effects. Five different pieces of music were used, including a piece played by guitar and a piece of operatic singing. We hung fluorescent stars to show “some consequences yet hanging in the stars,” and LED was twined on Juliet’s hair because she was just the illusions of Romeo. When the music died, the circle of light shrank and finally focused on the black sketch of Romeo and Juliet on the wall. We enjoyed the acting and were really proud of our performance when we finished it!
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