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Romeo and Juliet Time Project Rewriting Romeo and Juliet

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Romeo and Juliet Time Project

Rewriting Romeo and Juliet

Step One  

You will be divided into groups of three-four students for the duration of the project. The very first job you will have as group will be to pick the act from Romeo and Juliet that you will be working with over the next several days.  You can choose any of the following acts.  Think carefully before you make your decision! Next, read the act you have chosen before you meet with your group.

 Act II - Romeo and Juliet confess their love and decide to make it forever

Act III- Many good men die, Juliet is distraught, Romeo is devastated, and after spending a

night with her new husband, Juliet learns she is going to be forced to marry another!

Act IV– Friar Lawrence’s Plan, and oh no….Juliet is….dead!

Act V- Doth with their deaths bury their parents’ strife; the entire ordeal is revealed.



Step Two

Once you have decided which act you will be concentrating on, you must pick a time period in which to set the entire act.  Choose from these four:

The Wild West

1920's Chicago 

1950's Rock n Roll 

1960's Counterculture 


The Wild West 

The American West in the late nineteenth century was a rough place.  Gangs of cowboys roamed the often lawless territory, robbing banks and trains, stealing horses and cattle.  There are many interesting figures: both crooks and lawmen.  Some that you might have heard of include Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Wyatt Earp, the James brothers - the list goes on.  Find out more about these and others, and use what you learn about their escapades to turn the Montagues and Capulets into true frontiersmen!

1920's Chicago

The Mafia was around for along time before the 1920's and existed in almost every major city in the United States. But 1920's Chicago is particularly noteworthy because of what was going on in American policy at the time: Prohibition. The Mafia got involved in huge bootlegging rackets, bringing alcohol to the masses illegally. This was a risky business involving huge sums of money. Whenever such large amounts of money are involved, greed, deception, and murder tend to follow. Learn more about the Mafia, and use what you learn to bring the play into the Twentieth Century!


1950's Rock ‘N’ Roll Culture

Post World War II America was a place of seeming peace and prosperity as thousands of servicemen returned home to pick up their young families and move to the suburbs, starting "The Baby Boom" generation. Children played with hula hoops. Teenagers shocked their elders by listening to the new "rock and roll" music. Television began to play a large role in defining society as people began to get not only their daily news from the TV, but also their entertainment, from such shows as "I Love Lucy" and "Gunsmoke". However, there is also a serious side to this decade. The Korean War raged, the first hydrogen bomb was detonated, and the U.S. Supreme Court declared racial segregation to be unconstitutional, setting off a fight for racial equity that would continue for decades to come. The Cold War began, and this threat of Communism led to a veritable witch hunt for Communists in America.

1960's Counterculture

The 1960s was one of the most turbulent time periods in American history. The decade was full of events that had a major effect on how people viewed the world: President Kennedy's assassination, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the constant threat of nuclear attack, racial strife, and especially, the Vietnam War. Some people saw the war as a waste of American money and lives, and protested against it. This group of people, often called "hippies", was unhappy with the state of America. They marked a new stage of American culture, full of new thoughts and ideas, some of them revolutionary, some unremarkable. With its theme of "sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll", this "hippie counterculture" upset many members of society, and was the source of much conflict. Research to understand how this time period is the perfect setting for your version of Romeo and Juliet!

Step Three
You've chosen the act. You've picked the perfect time period. Now what? Each member of your group needs to choose a task for which you will complete research and incorporate that information into the presentation of your Act. Remember to use what we’ve learned about research. Only use VALID, TRUSTED sources. Cite your research, create a Works Cited, etc. You must complete at least ten notecards, containing one fact per notecard. You must use at least two trusted sources.
Just as every person possesses different talents and interests, each of the roles requires the use of different skills. Your group should carefully read the Role Descriptions listed below and decide together who is best suited for each.

The Linguist

You must research the language/slang of your chosen time period. You must also research why slang is formed? How is slang formed? Include examples of slang from your time period, and analyze how/why they were used during the time period. In addition, you must write your research into a transcript for your group’s video. Turn in your written transcript, complete with in-text citations and Works Cited.

In your shortened script, highlight (pink) each of the slang terms which you’ve included from your time period.

The Costume Designer

You will need to research the fashion of the time. For the video portfolio, you must answer the following: how did the fashion of the time period reflect the culture and ideals of the people? When writing the transcript of your video speech, include in-text citations and a Works Cited in MLA format.

For your group’s presentation of the R&J Act, don’t forget to prepare all

of the characters’ costumes! And don’t forget props 

The Ideals of the Culture

You are researching the ideals of the culture. What are the American people’s values during this time period? What are their accepted customs and courtesies (etiquette)? In addition, find a song that represents the values of the time period, and analyze and discuss how this song represents the time period well. Write out your research into a “speech/talk” for the video portfolio. You will turn in a written version of exactly what you say on the video, including both in-text citations and a Works Cited for your research.

For your group’s presentation of the R&J Act, find a song that represents the values of the time period (you can use the one from your research), and find a way to incorporate the song into your group’s presentation.

The Historian

You will be in charge of making sure your act is historically accurate. Therefore, you’ll need to research

important events of the period. How did these events change the face of America and affect her people? Who

were the people behind these events? What ideas/agendas drove these events? Write out your research into a

“speech/talk” for the video portfolio. You will turn in a written version of exactly what you say on the video,

including both in-text citations and a Works Cited for your research.

For your group’s presentation, be sure at least one-two historical events are

incorporated into your script. Highlight them in green. Also, create a backdrop for your

group’s presentation that is relevant historically.

Power Structures *optional
       You will be researching the power structure during your assigned time period. Who holds the power? How

do they get power? Is the power structure fair? Does everyone have the same amount of power? If not, who

has more? Who has less power? If possible, analyze how other parts of the culture contribute to this power


For your group’s presentation, be sure it apparent that this power structure is evident in

the rewritten script. Highlight these places in the script in blue.

Role of Women *optional
You will research the role of women during your time period. What were women responsible for during this

time? What were the putative beliefs about women? Were there any significant women during the period?

What were they known for? Were women’s roles different from those of their male counterparts? If so, how?
For your group’s presentation, be sure the women act accordingly to your period; however, you also have to balance that with how the characters in the play actually are. Therefore, if a woman breaks the rules, are there consequences, or are they rewarded for it? Highlight where these ideas are portrayed in the script in purple.

Role of Religion
You should research the role of religion during your time period. What did people believe during this time?

Was there a strict moral code during this time which was tied to religion, or did religion come to mean

something different than religion in its traditional sense? If it was different, then how was it different? How

did people reach that ultimate, transcendent place?

Shakespeare satirizes the religious figures in Romeo and Juliet. Therefore, you should do the same in your own script. That means that you’ll have to include Friar Lawrence’s parts from your original Act in your script, but you’ll have to remake him into a religious type figure relevant to your time period. In your rewritten script, highlight the satirizing of your religious figure in orange. (You can achieve satire by making a character’s actions/words outrageous or outlandish in such a way that it draws attention to them; make them laughable or unlikable, yet don’t just say it.)

Step Four

You will present your research in a video that your group will make together. Before you just start talking on video, you should write your research and analysis of your research up into a “talk/speech” which you will read on the video. Don’t keep the camera on you the whole time though. You can include pictures, songs, etc. that are relevant to what you’re talking about while your voice is heard in the background of the video. You should turn in a transcript (typed and double-spaced) of what you read on video, complete with in-text citations, a Works Cited, and your notecards.

Your Video Portfolio is a group effort, but each person will contribute a different section that will pertain to the role they have chosen. However, it is a group grade.
Note: A video may take more time than you anticipate. As a second option, you may want to just create one group PowerPoint with a series of photos which are relevant to each of your roles. Then, each of you can simply give an overview of your written transcripts to the class while using the PowerPoint slides to supplement your talk.

*The video, or PowerPoint, cannot take longer than eight minutes.

Step Five
You’ve read the original Shakespearean version of your Act, you’ve researched your time period, and now it’s time to rewrite your script into its new time period! Since all of you have different knowledge of your time period, you should rewrite the script as a group, including all the new information you have learned about this period. Keep the idea of the main conflict and the characters’ feelings, etc., but make it relevant to your assigned time period. Have fun with it. Don’t forget to practice your script, and have enough copies for everyone on the day you act it out! Think: Reduced Shakespeare (choose the important parts).

**The two scores will be averaged for your final individual grade.

Group Evaluation

Outstanding (33 points)

Above Average (31 points)

Proficient (29 points)

Below Average (26 points)

Unacceptable (20 - 0 points)

Rewritten Script

All elements of the script are authentic to time period. All elements of the original plot & conflict are retained. Group was innovative and creative. All highlighted portions are present & creative.

The script is authentic to the time period. All elements of the plot & conflict are retained. Group was creative, and the research is all present.

The rewritten act sticks to the original plot and conflict, and it is set accurately into the new time period. All parts of the research are correct, and the script is original. All highlighted portions are present.

The act is rewritten into the new time period, but part of the conflict or plot is left out. There may errors in the research which aren’t authentic. Some highlighted portions missing.

The act is missing major elements of the original plot or conflict. Errors in research are distracting. Several highlighted portions were left out of the script.

Class Presentation

Presentation is convincing, well thought out, organized, and original.  Group works well together and the scene is well- rehearsed.

Presentation is lacking in 1-2 of the elements mentioned in “outstanding” column.

Presentation is complete, but may have benefited from more rehearsal or organization. Background, props, and costumes are authentic, neat, and complete.

Presentation is not thorough.  Presentation is disorganized.  There may be something missing or incomplete.

Group clearly didn’t rehearse. Group was so disorganized, it was impossible to glean anything from the script.

Video/Class Portfolio of Research

All elements of the Portfolio are presented in a creative and interesting manner.  Each member of the group has gone above and beyond the requirements.

Portfolio is complete and shows independent exploration on the part of all group members. Presentation could’ve used a little more creativity.

 Portfolio is complete and shows some independent exploration on the part of some group members.  One or more aspects of the portfolio may have benefited from more planning and thought.

Only the very bare minimum is included.  May be messy or disorganized.  Something may be missing or incomplete.

There are significant errors in research by multiple group members and presentation of material was severely lacking in creativity.

Individual Evaluation

Outstanding (33 points)

Above Average (31 points)

Proficient (29 points)

Below Average (26 points)

Unacceptable (20 - 0 points)

Notecards & Bibliography Cards

Research meets above average standards, and went above and beyond in the type/amount of information found.

Ten notecards are in perfect format with one fact per card. Two sources are used, and biblio. info. is perfect.

Ten notecards may have some errors in format or may have a little too much info. Two valid sources used, and biblio. info. is nearly perfect. Research is valid.

May not have enough cards or invalid sources. Notecards may have too much/ too little / incorrect info. Formatting errors present.

Information is not cited or severely incorrect. Sources aren’t valid. Research is incomplete. Format is incorrect.

Analysis of Research –how well you answer and discuss the questions

Creative/original ideas and insights; extensive commentary, refreshing; goes beyond obvious and basic commentary

Analysis is believable and convincing, a few assertions may lack thorough explanation, but assertions are still clearly connected to argument.

Analysis supports your argument, but ideas are obvious and basic. Argument is believable.

Ideas lack development; misunderstanding of information researched; illogical argument or doesn’t completely answer research question.

Analysis not present; simply relaying information from research; doesn’t answer research question.

In-Text Citations

In-text citations are correct and complete in the transcript for video/presentation.

In-text citations are correct for the most part, but all are present.

In-text citations are all present, but there are 3-4 errors.

An in-text citation may be missing, or there are distracting errors within the citation(s).

Several in-text citations are missing, or there are distracting errors within the citations present.

Works Cited

Works Cited page is complete and formatted correctly.

1-2 errors on the Works Cited page

3-4 errors on the Works Cited page

5-6 errors on Works Cited page or something isn’t on Works Cited page which is in transcript.

More than 6 errors in formatting or severe plagiarism present.

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