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Romeo and Juliet, The Barnesville Way
Posted 06/05/2018 08:57PM

The last few months of school are always a whirlwind of activity at Barnesville. #JOYfulLearning is in full swing in April, May, and June. Amongst major capstone projects like the Fourth Grade State Fair, Kindergarten Artist Alphabet, and First Grade’s Cinco De Mayo celebration, and in the shadow of milestone trips like Gettysburg, Shenandoah, and New York, seventh graders quietly studied Shakespeare. Well, with Mr. Hart teaching the Renaissance, “quietly” isn’t really an accurate description.

For two weeks, seventh graders worked on independent projects as well as a larger group project where they acted out major scenes from Romeo and Juliet for the entire school.

With a PowerPoint synopsis of the play projected in the gym, Mr. Hart and seventh grade students Ryan and Liam narrated an abbreviated version of the play as it was performed by seventh graders. Students fielded questions from the audience after.

“I tricked them into really understanding the meaning of the words through acting,” explained Mr. Hart. “They could use note cards to help remember their lines, but they had to demonstrate a deep understanding of the play. The reaction from younger students reflected a real excitement about the play as well as an understanding.”

Excerpts from The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet as adapted, explained, and performed by
The Barnesville School Class of 2019

Act 1:  The Prologue       

Christina reads the 14 line introductory poem written in iambic pentameter.

“Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene…”

This poem is called a sonnet—a Shakespeare favorite! There are 5 beats per line with a combination of accented and unaccented syllables. Notice the focus on 2’s…2 households (the Capulets and the Montagues), 2 foes (these families are enemies), 2 lovers (Romeo and Juliet), and 2 hours (although our play is only 1 hour).

Act 1, Scene 1: Street Fight!

A street fight breaks out between the Capulets with Ellison playing Sampson and Toby playing both Gregory and Tybalt, (Juliet’s angry cousin) and the Montagues (Nina as Abram) and Benvolio, Romeo’s cousin (played by Charlie).  

The Prince of Verona (played by Lucy) interrupts the fight and threatens death to anyone who fights again! Benvolio then finds Romeo (played by Ellison), and we hear from this dreamer for the first time.

Is the day so young? ...Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still, Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will!”

Act 2, Scene 2:  The Balcony Scene

This is probably the most famous scene in the play. Romeo and Juliet express their love for one another and their desire to be married. Carissa plays Romeo and Emily  plays Juliet.

“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the sun!”

Act 3, Scene 1:  Another fight…2 deaths!

Good friends Benvolio (William) and Mercutio (Nick) encounter angry Tybalt (Chris) and his man, Petruchio on the street. Once Tybalt finds Romeo (Ian), he tries to pick a fight.  

Now that Romeo is married to Juliet, Tybalt is family! Romeo really wants to convince Tybalt to relax because he loves him! This makes Tybalt angrier, and Mercutio is a bit disgusted that Romeo is backing down from a fight.

Male ego kicks in and Mercutio challenges Tybalt. Tybalt kills Mercutio (Romeo’s best friend)…Romeo snaps!  He, then, kills Tybalt.

Do you remember what the Prince said? Well, he banishes Romeo (sends him far away) instead of sentencing him to death.

{A modern version of the same scene is acted out  by Drew (Mercutio), Aidan (Romeo), Amogh (Tybalt), and Matthew (Benvolio).}

Act 4, Scene 1:  The Friar has a plan!

Paris is talking with the Friar (Gabby) about the upcoming wedding when Juliet (Taylor) arrives. In her dialogue with Paris, Juliet is pretty distant!  Not much love…

Once Paris leaves, Juliet breaks down! The Friar has a plan, however…a magic potion which will make her appear dead.  Once in the family burial vault, Romeo will show up and whisk her away and live happily ever after…right?

Act 4, Scenes 2-5: Wedding madness! Juliet is found, dead!

Capulet moves the wedding date to the next day because he is so excited! Everyone in the Capulet house is preparing for the wedding all night long; Juliet takes the Friar’s potion after some thought! Christina performs Juliet’s famous soliloquy as she gets ready to take the potion.

“...Alright, here’s the vial. What if this mixture doesn’t work at all? Will I be married tomorrow morning? No, no, this knife will stop it. Lie down right there.”

The Nurse comes to Juliet’s bedroom that morning to find her dead (is she really?)  Capulet, Lady Capulet, and Paris are grief-stricken! The Friar interrupts them to begin funeral preparations.

Act 5, Scene 3:  The Final Scene

Paris arrives at the tomb first!  Then Romeo (Jenna) arrives, kills Paris, enters the tomb and takes the poison. Juliet (Cienna) awakes to find a dead Romeo. After a brief discussion with Balthasar (Auveen), the Friar (Auveen…again!) enters the tomb as well.  He chats with Juliet for a moment and then leaves. Juliet kills herself… it is a tragedy!

The Prince, the Capulets, and the Montagues all arrive…the Friar explains the marriage and the two families declare that their hostility is at an end. Is it?

The Prince (Jasper) has the final words in this play…

“A glooming peace this morning with it brings; The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head: Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things; Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished: For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”


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