Romeo and Juliet – A Parody
For this unit we took a little bit of a look at Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet. To start off we took a look at Shakespeare’s life and what made him a good writer. We learned about how he came to London, started his playhouse, and wrote his plays. I thought this part of our studies was really interesting because he came from nothing and made a business that became a big thing. He came from almost nothing to be such a successful playwright that even royalty came to watch his plays. I talk about this further in my first This Week I Learned (TWIL) post TWIL # 1. Through the first 3 weeks of this unit we did a post a week (TWIL #2, TWIL #3 )as we looked at some key ideas behind why we still learn about Shakespeare, how we can look past our own present day beliefs and values to understand what life was like back in Shakespeare’s day, and tried to answer our driving question: How can we, as Shakespearean actors, use parody to communicate the timeless nature of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”?
Next we started reading the play. Overall, I really liked Romeo and Juliet. I thought it was a fun play to listen to and watch. At the end of reading the play, we wrote an essay about a topic we chose to prove a specific argument about the play using quotes from the play. I chose to cover the topic of why do Romeo and Juliet kill themselves at the end of the play. Here is my essay Romeo Juliet Essay. Doing this essay helped me to understand the play more because it helped me to put myself into the shoes of Romeo and Juliet and get into their heads to understand what they were feeling and thinking. I feel like some teenagers today still have these same feelings that when something goes wrong in their life, it is the end of the world and they are better off killing themselves. It makes more sense to me now why we still see Shakespeare as one of the best playwright that has ever lived even 400 years later because he deals with problems and situations that are distinctly human nature and are therefore timelessly relatable.
Our final project in Romeo and Juliet was to come up with our own script turning a scene in the play and turn it into a parody that we would perform as a solo. Each person in the class made one scene in chronological order of the play to perform at our presentation. It was a lot of fun to perform our one man scene and we all got very creative in how we would pull off a scene that had multiple characters by ourselves. I made the scene from the night after Romeo and Juliet get married and Romeo had to leave the next morning because he got banished for killing Tybalt, who was Juliet’s cousin. Tybalt had killed Mercutio, who was Romeo’s best friend. Here is my script The Night After. I didn’t include all of the beginning lines from my script in my performance because I thought it might be too repetitive with the scenes my classmates had performed before me. Here is the video of my scene.
When we were going to start this unit, I thought Romeo and Juliet would be more boring. But it was actually interesting and fun to write our own script and make a parody of a scene. I think writing a parody and putting Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet into a modern perspective made us think about the play differently and helped us to build a deeper understanding of the play and Shakespeare’s intent in writing it. I think it helped us to understand the characters more. It is difficult to get past the older style of language when you are reading the play but having to be the characters in a scene that has been modernized helps. The fact that it was actually easy to turn our scenes into a modern parody speaks to the timeless nature of the human nature that is a Shakespearean play.