Romeo and Juliet Performance by Shakespeare Now Company

BY Jill Riker

Cape Cod Regional Technical High School

Goals, objectives, and activities

Actors from the Shakespeare Now Theater Company will perform the play, Romeo and Juliet, for the student body at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School. They will also present a hands-on workshop for 39 special education students. The workshop will include kin-esthetic activities incorporating Shakespeare’s use of language and imagery. The students and actors will interact through dramatic readings and games.

All grade 9 and 10 students at Cape Cod Technical High School are required to read Shakespeare’s plays, Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth. His language is daunting to today’s generation of students, so, in order for them to truly appreciate Shakespeare, they must see his plays performed. The goal of this project is to bring the play, Romeo and Juliet, to life for the students, as well as give them a deep appreciation for the beauty and imagery of Shakespeare’s text. Viewing a live performance will, not only achieve these goals, but, also, will give students the opportunity to witness the dramatic effect live performance can have on an audience. They will gain an appreciation for the performing arts.

shakespeare now

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)

Students in grades 9 and 10 will study Shakespeare in English classes following the performance. They will analyze and compare Shakespeare’s text through the different mediums: Reading the text versus watching the live performance. Each student in these grades will write a synthesis paper comparing the two mediums. The juniors and seniors who have previously read the plays will discuss and write about the effect the performance had on their understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare.

As they begin reading Shakespeare’s plays, the students involved in the workshop will write a reflection upon the usefulness of the activities in improving their understanding of the written language. As their teacher, I will monitor their ability to comprehend the text. Using the data from the units’ finals, I will compare the grades from the previous year’s unit final to this year’s grades, and analyze the difference in my students’ understanding of the plays after their involvement with the Shakespeare Now Theater Group.

Benefit to the students and the school

Inviting the Shakespeare Now Theater Group to our school will benefit our student body in several ways.The workshop I have planned will enhance my students’ understanding of the performance. I am a special education Language Arts teacher at Cape Cod Tech. My students are struggling readers, who find the written language intimidating. Each year when we begin reading Romeo and Juliet or Macbeth, there are cries from my students, “Shakespeare is too difficult and boring!” So, it is essential to bring Shakespeare and his beautiful stories to life through hands-on activities. The workshop presented by the actors requires active participation from the students through dramatic activities and games. As they stage and perform excerpts from the play, the students will become immersed in Shakespeare’s language. Ultimately, this will provide them with a greater understanding of his works. When they attend the afternoon performance, they will feel a part of the play.

Experiencing live theater is an essential component to the English curriculum, as well as to the Common Core Standards. Watching actors perform live gives a new perspective to the written word, especially when the written word is penned by Shakespeare. It will greatly enrich the instruction of his works in our Language Arts classes. It will also allow the entire student body to experience the excitement of watching actors perform on stage.

Budget (Please detail how funding will be used. Itemize as appropriate.)

The total cost of this project: $1560.00.

The Shakespeare Now Troop will perform for the entire student body of 650 students.

The cost of the performance: $1160.00

The troop will present a workshop for 39 special education freshman and sophomore students.

The cost of the workshop: $400.00.

Our request for $500.00 will be used toward the total cost of the performance and workshop. In order to raise the remaining funds needed, the English department will fund-raise, as well as request funding through other grant opportunities.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable.)

The English Department teaches the plays, Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth, to freshman and sophomore classes following the February break. The performance and workshop would preview the instruction of the plays within the classrooms. We plan to invite the Shakespeare Now Theater Group to perform in February 2015. The workshop would be presented in the morning. The play would be performed in front of the student body in the afternoon.