Shop  |  Calendar  |  Join  |  Buy Tickets  |  Hamnet  |  Site Rental  |  Press Room  
About UsWhat's OnUse the CollectionDiscover ShakespeareTeach & LearnFolger InstituteSupport Us
Teaching Resources
• Teaching Modules
Teaching Modules Archive

   Sign up for E-news!
   Printer Friendly

Performing Time, Status, and Genre in Romeo and Juliet

Teachers' Rating:
  12 ratings

Romeo and Juliet

January 2006
Jeremy Ehrlich, Folger Shakespeare Library.

Plays/Scenes Covered
Romeo and Juliet 2.2, 2.5, 3.1, 3.3, and 3.5
What's On for Today and Why
Having students perform in class doesn't need to take a lot of class time. These short scripts give students a chance to get on their feet quickly and act out cut scenes to illuminate issues of time, status and genre in Romeo and Juliet. This lesson works as a pre-reading activity or as a starting point for a discussion of these issues after students have read the scenes.


  This lesson will take one class period.

What You Need

Folger edition of Romeo and Juliet
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts

Performing Time
Performing Status
Performing Genre
Performing Genre (extension)
What To Do

1. You may wish to begin working on the issue of "time" by having two students improvise scenes in which one character is moving quickly and another is moving slowly—perhaps a student trying to get out of a house before her parent finds out where she is going. After running the improvisation once, run it again, asking the student to act as if she is trying to complete the scene in ten seconds and the parent to act as if she is trying to stretch it out to a whole minute.


2. Give the two students the cut script from 3.3 of Romeo and the Friar and ask them to perform it. (Or, you may wish to ask a new pair of students to do this.) On a second reading, give them the same task: Romeo will try to complete the scene quickly, while the Friar will try to stretch it out as long as possible. Complete the activity with a discussion: how do the two perceive time differently? Where else in the play do we see differences in the perception of time? (Juliet asking to delay the marriage to Paris is a good example.)


3. To begin the "status" activity, start with a discussion of social status. What are some ways for an actor to present a high status character? A low status character? You may wish to use another improvisation to demonstrate these techniques. Choose two students to perform a scene in which a student is trying to get permission to go to a party at a friend's house, while the parent does not approve of the friend in question. Have them perform this scene twice, once giving the parent the higher status and the upper hand in the conversation, the second time giving the student the higher status. Discuss the ways in which the characters in the scenes appear different because of the difference in status.


4. Give these (or new) students the cut script from 2.5 of Juliet and her Nurse; note that the status relationship between the two is complicated. While the nurse is a mother figure, she is also employed by Juliet's parents. Have the students perform the scene twice, once giving the Nurse higher status and a second time giving it to Juliet. (A third performance could give them equal status.) Again, conclude with a discussion: how does making this choice change the effect of the scene? How would it change elements of the entire play?


5. To look at issues of genre in the play, give one or two pairs of students the cut scenes from 2.2 and 3.5 of Romeo leaving Juliet's balcony. Ask them to perform the two scenes immediately following each other. Ask the audience how the two scenes are different. You may wish to ask them to perform the scenes a second time, emphasizing the lighter, comic elements in the first scene and the darker, more tragic elements in the second. Again, conclude with a discussion: how would these scenes and the play feel different if both scenes had the same tone?


6. As an optional extension of the genre activity, give students the cut scene from 3.1, the lead-in to the brawl. This brawl marks the point where the tone of the play makes a shift from a lighter tone indistinguishable from a comedy to the tragedy it will become. Try having students act the scene out in two different ways: as a more playful, light-hearted encounter or as a mean-spirited, more difficult one. Which reading do students feel best fits the text? Why?

How Did It Go?
Were students able to understand and perform the different choices available to them in issues of status and genre? Were they able to understand the effect that time, status and genre have in the play? Were they able to apply these ideas to other scenes in the play?

If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.

Login or register to post comments.

16 CommentsOldest | Newest

great real racing 3 hack
fitri November 16, 2014 8:00 AM

fitri November 16, 2014 12:42 AM

Strong people are well aware of his weakness, weak people never realize its advantages. penyebab kutil kelamin pria | penyebab penyakit kutil kelamin
infosehat November 14, 2014 8:46 AM

I am really enjoying reading your well written articles. It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it.festa meu malvado favorito
Sheila October 13, 2014 5:48 PM

This is a great article. The information is very helpful. Looking forward to your next great article. festa lego
Sheila October 13, 2014 5:47 PM

student is trying to get permission to go to a party at a friend's house. Geography Coursework
justin September 30, 2014 5:42 AM

obat herbal sinusitis alami Agen Obat Alami Penyakit Sinusitis Terbaik Sebelum berbicara tentang obat herbal penyakit sinusitis amazon Plus, lebih baik jika kita mendalami mengenai penyakit sinusitis lebih dulu.
Derry September 16, 2014 10:20 AM

obat kanker otak herbal Kanker otak Dapat Sembuh Menggunakan Obat Herbal amazon
Derry September 16, 2014 10:20 AM

obat herbal penyakit gagal ginjal kronis Gagal Ginjal Sehabis Konsumsi Obat Sakit Jantung Nama saya Bpk.Sigit Yuwono, saya lahir di Surabaya - Jawa Timur lima puluh delapan tahun silam tidak menyangka saya menderita
Derry September 16, 2014 10:20 AM

Parajumpers Jackets Moose Knuckles Canada Canada Goose Women Jackets
peter August 20, 2014 1:07 PM

View More
  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
How To

Note to Mozilla Firefox Users:

If the PDF documents are freezing, please try the following fix:
Go to Tools. Under Options click the Applications icon. Under Content Type, find Adobe Acrobat Document. Select Use Adobe Reader. If the option already says Use Adobe Reader, try changing the option to Use Adobe Acrobat.

Bookmark and Share   
     Copyright & Policies   |   Sitemap   |   Contact Us   |   About This Site
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Get directions »

Federal Tax ID #04-2103542
PublicReading Room
10am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday8:45am to 4:45pm, Monday through Friday
12pm to 5pm, Sunday9am to noon and 1pm to 4:30pm, Saturday
Main: 202 544 4600
Box Office: 202 544 7077
Fax: 202 544 4623