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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: April ::
Re: *R&J* for Pre-College Students
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 227.  Wednesday, 7 April 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Robert O'Connor <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 7 Apr 1993 13:03:41 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0220  Q: *R&J* for Pre-College Students
 
(2)     From:   Tom Loughlin <LOUGHLIN@FREDONIA.BITNET>
        Date:   Tuesday, 6 Apr 1993 11:04 pm EDT (Wed, 7 Apr 93 03:04:05 UT)
        Subj:   R&J
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert O'Connor <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 7 Apr 1993 13:03:41 +1000
Subject: 4.0220  Q: *R&J* for Pre-College Students
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0220  Q: *R&J* for Pre-College Students
 
John Massa asked:
 
>Does anyone have any words of wisdom or experience about how to approach a
>production of Romeo & Juliet where all the roles are played by 17-19 year olds,
>most of whom have acting experience from school productions but little or no
>exposure to Shakespeare?
>If you have done something like this before, how did you begin with them?  Any
>unexpected problems?  Anthing you wished you had emphasized earlier?  (Or
>should we just get on with it and stop asking so many questions?!!)
 
A few years ago, I was relieving someone else's high-school Lit. class and
they were doing R&J - the first time I had encountered a class at this
level doing Shakespeare (Note: up to about 8 years ago it was possible to
go through school in my home state and not read a word of Shakespeare!).
 
The average age of this class was about 15.
 
I found little problem in working with that class and play - once most of
them had overcome their antipathy towards the verse they found themselves
thoroughly absorbed, especially after one of the girls realised that Juliet
was only a little younger than they. They particularly enjoyed the smuttier
aspects of Mercutio's speeches, an appeal I have noticed is almost
universal to that age group! I don't think there's a bettter play to start
Shakespeare with, for teenagers.
 
I don't think that any special way of beginning is necessary, other than
to emphasise speaking rather than versifying, at least at the outset. The
problem is always the 'romantic' scenes, no matter how much experience kids
that age have. Expect giggles and red faces - even from yourself!
 
ROC
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Loughlin <LOUGHLIN@FREDONIA.BITNET>
Date:           Tuesday, 6 Apr 1993 11:04 pm EDT (Wed, 7 Apr 93 03:04:05 UT)
Subject:        R&J
 
I agree with Steve, John - let it rip.  I'd encourage the kids to put all
the intensity and passion of their age into the performace - you won't get
a polished production, but I think it's impotant that they see that WS
wrote with a tremendous amount of feeling and passion.  If there's one
thing 17-19 year-olds have, it's energy and passion.
 
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      Tom Loughlin                *   BITNET
      Dept. of Theatre Arts       *    loughlin@fredonia.bitnet
      SUNY College at Fredonia    *   INTERNET
      Fredonia NY 14063           *    
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