Package 1 . Exploring the nature of the warring families through a modern understanding of gangs and what motivates them.
1. Stage combat workshop based on the idea of rival football fans. This would be a hand combat workshop basically reflecting the opening scenes of the play to help the children understand the background to Romeo and Juliet’s families etc.
2. The children would prepare a series of freeze frames depicting the fight between Tybalt and Mercutio and Romeo’s interruption which leads to Mercutio’s death. Use of open/close technique for impact and focus.
3. In threes, the children would re-visit their earlier stage combat session. They would choreograph the fight between Romeo and Tybalt and the interruption by Mercutio ending in Mercutio’s death. The prepared freeze frames from earlier could be included in this performance for effect etc.
4. Hot seating Romeo’s character to explore his feelings after the death of his friend Mercutio. This could be developed into a television interview, with Romeo, before he is banished to Mantua.
5. Some of these performed followed by discussion about Romeo’s feelings at this point in the story.
6. These scenes would be linked together by narration and performed at the end of the session.
Package 2. A study of Juliet’s character and her relationship with her parents.
1. A discussion about family, parents and the children’s own experiences of being part of a family. What kind of these do they argue about with their parents and why? How do they feel when their parents tell them to do things which they perhaps do not want to?
2. A group improvisation session designed to allow the children to think about some of the elements of Juliet’s situation. In pairs, one plays the parent and one plays the child. The child has a friend that the parent does not approve of and tries to persuade them to be friends with someone else. The child has to give reasons why they should be allowed to have the friend of their choice.
3. Some performances, feedback and discussion.
4. The masked ball: children would design their own mask to reflect their characters after discussion about the traditions of the masked ball.
5. In two halves, the class would prepare a simple movement scene of the people at the party. Two of the characters are Juliet and Romeo (the two friends from the previous improvisation) one is Tybalt, Romeo’s sworn enemy. One is Capulet, overseeing the ball and looking after the guests. The children have to show these characters using movement alone, for the other half of the group to watch and identify (e.g. through facial expression and movement).
6. In groups of four, the children improvise the conversation between Tybalt, Romeo and Capulet when Tybalt tries to throw Romeo out of the party.
7. These scenes to be linked together for a final performance followed by evaluation and ideas for further activities.