Shakespeare, from the student perspective, only begins to make sense really after one has acted his plays out. One learns line by line, struggling with the language; then there is the intonation, the framing of the shots, and the acting… It is a enormous amount of work.
This project allows students to take responsibility for staging an act from Romeo and Juliet for the teacher to film for them. The project is time-consuming, but by the time students have studies the text, figured out the staging, and acted out the play they know everything going on in the play: that is how it should be with Shakespeare, which can be like a foreign language to young adults (and not-so-young adults). I also allow students to stage the play in contemporary contexts, connecting the language of the past to the passion, hormones, and parental tensions which are endemic to youth.