I’m very proud to announce that just in time for Valentines’ Day, I’m offering a course of classes about Shakespeare’s most popular play about love. The play will include fight choreography, dramatic readings, games, escape rooms, and an activity where the students create their own Shakespearean insults!
We’ll engage with the play with thoughtful discussion.
You’ll go on a virtual tour to the Globe Theater!
You’ll play detective and solve a Shakespearean murder!
Instead of just reading the play "Romeo and Juliet," this class will actively delve into the world of the play through a combination of lectures, dramatic readings, virtual field trips, online quizzes and activities, and finally, a digital escape room to test the student's knowledge of the play and its ideas. Each class is ala carte, meaning that once you take one class, you choose whether to stop at one class or continue onwards. Each class will delve into a different theme, literary device, and historical concept in the play:
Class 1: Why Read Romeo and Juliet? - The teacher will decode the Prologue of Romeo and Juliet and tell the basic story of the play - We will explain dramatic irony through looking at the prologue, - The teacher will explain why Shakespeare used poetry in the play, instead of just writing in common prose - We will discuss why we still read Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet in particular. Class 2: Foils and Fights - The learner will learn about the culture of dueling and sword fighting that was rampant in the 17th century. - The teacher will explain and the learner will learn to recognize character foils in the play like Romeo and Friar Laurence - We will cover the topic of antithesis- how opposite imagery permeates the play. - We will discuss figurative language through insults and the students will have a contest to see who can craft the best Elizabethan insults! Class 3: Acts 1& 2- The Language of Love and Hate - We will recap how insults work- hyperbole and metaphor used to make someone seem the worst, the smallest, the ugliest, the dumbest, etc. - We'll examine passages from Act II that show how these techniques apply to wooing and expressing love through metaphor, hyperbole, and allusions. - The teacher will explain what a sonnet is and how Shakespeare uses them repeatedly in "Romeo and Juliet" - We will discuss staging the famous Balcony Scene of Romeo and Juliet and ask if it's possible to do so in a virtual environment. Class 3: Act 3 fighting 💪 swordplay and plague imagery The teacher will explain the plot structure of Elizabethan tragedies and explain that Act III is the climax of the play. We will recap the events that led to the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt The teacher will unpack Mercutio’s famous curse "A plague on both your houses," which is a foreshadowing, and the climax of the action. The class will end with a short, safe demonstration of stage fighting where the students may choose to enact Mercutio's fight with Tybalt and/ or Romeo's fight with Tybalt. Class 4: Act 4 antithesis and dramatic irony We will talk about the imagery in Act IV, scene 1, which foreshadows the end of the play. I will also do a dramatic re-enactment of Juliet's soliloquy in Act IV, We'll go on a virtual field trip to an Elizabethan wedding. The teacher will historical context of the black death and its relevance to the play and Shakespeare's life. Class 5: The final curtain We will discuss Act V of the play and how so many forces seemed to be out of Romeo and Juliet's control, pushing them apart. We will also discuss whether or not Friar Laurence should be punished for encouraging Romeo and Juliet to disobey their parents. Class 6: Performance then and Now The teacher will perform in character as William Shakespeare, and teach the students how to act like real Elizabethan actors. This will include a virtual tour of the Globe Theater, a virtual costume fitting, stage fighting lessons, and DIY Elizabethan crafts. The teacher will then engage the class by discussing different adaptations, sequels, and spin-offs of Romeo and Juliet, in order to illustrate how popular and long-lasting this story is. The students will watch and discuss clips from various movies, plays, and ballets based on Romeo and Juliet. The instructor will conclude by sharing his own experience acting in Romeo and Juliet three times as The Prince, Friar Laurence, and Peter. Class 7: Final project- CSI ROMEO AND JULIET STYLE The class will play the role of a detective trying to solve the mystery of Juliet's death in Act IV, (when she actually takes the sleeping potion). (S)he doesn't know what happened but must piece together clues hidden in a digital escape room, such as handwritten notes, blog posts, receipts from "The Apothecary," etc. The clues will not only test the student's knowledge of the play, but their understanding of metaphor, verse, Elizabethan history, and more! In the end, the Detective will be the one who tells Lord and Lady Capulet the true story of what happened to Juliet. To unlock the digital escape room, the students will decode messages hidden in the clues and enter them into a Google Form.
First course runs from February 2nd to March 19th, 7PM EST. If you can’t make it to this section, I can schedule one for you.