Romeo and Juliet reloaded

The greatest love story ever told

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How successful is Baz Luhrmann’s version of Romeo and Juliet?



Having watched the Baz Luhrmann version of Romeo and Juliet, you are going to write a review, examining how successful it is. You should read this Wikipedia article on the film here.

You need to comment upon:

  • The quality of the acting
  • The quality of the “direction”: the use of camera shots, the use of costumes, settings, music, sound, the editing
  • The way in which he has “edited” down Shakespeare’s language; does Shakespeare’s language work in this context?
  • Does the “modernisation” of the setting really work, even though Shakespeare’s original language is being used?
  • Some points to think about: in the original Juliet is turning fourteen, she is clearly older here. In the original, swords are used, not guns. In the origina.

Post your reviews in response to this article down below.

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Romeo and Juliet quiz

Starter quiz:

1. Act 1, Scene 1: what caused the fight and what did the Prince threaten if someone started a fight again? Why is Romeo so troubled? How does Benvolio promise to help him?

2. Act 1, Scene 2: Why won’t Capulet let Paris marry his daughter?

3. Act 1, Scene 3: What does Lady Capulet tell Juliet? What does the Nurse joke about?

4. Act 1, Scene 4: What do we learn about Mercutio in this scene? What premonition does Romeo have?

5. Act 1, Scene 5: Why do Romeo and Juliet fall in love? Why is Tybalt so angry?

6. Act 2, Scene 1: How is Mercutio so rude in this scene?

7. Act 2, Scene 2: What happens on Juliet’s balcony? What do the two lovers promise to do?

8. Act 2, Scene 3: Why does Friar Lawrence agree to marry Romeo and Juliet? Why is he shocked?

9. Act 2, Scene 4: How is Mercutio so rude to the Nurse? What does Romeo tell the Nurse?

10. Act 2, Scene 5: What happens at the end of this act?

11. Act 3, Scene 1 Who dies in this scene and why?

12. Act 3, Scene 2 Why is the Nurse so upset?

13. Act 3, Scene 3 How does Friar Lawrence help Romeo and Juliet?

14. Act 3, Scene 4 Why does Capulet speed up the marriage?

15. Act 3, Scene 5 Who Juliet forced to marry and why?

16. Act 4, Scene 1 What plan does Friar Lawrence have to save Juliet?

17. Act 4, Scene 4 What fears does Juliet have of taking the potion?

18. Act 4, Scene 5 Why is everyone so sad?

19. Act 5, Scene 1 Why does Romeo buy poison?

20. Act 5, Scene 2 What happens to Friar John and why is this a terrible thing to happen?

21. Act 5, Scene 3 Who dies in this scene and why? Why do the families become friends? 

Now have a go at the Spark Notes quiz here and report your score to Mr Gilbert.

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Act 2: Romeo and Juliet, learning about LOVE!

Learning Objectives: to learn how and why Shakespeare presents the theme of love in this Act; to learn how he creates suspense and humour.

Starter: what has happened before this scene?

In groups, read the Modernised version of Act 2. At the end of each scene, write some notes on these things:

  • The moments when love is revealed between the characters
  • What you think of the characters who are in love.
  • Write some questions to ask about the scene which are OPEN: eg why is this character acting like this?
  • Find interesting quotes from the original and modernised version and analyse their effect.

Keep your notes, your coursework is on the balcony scene!

These are some different version of the most famous scene in theatre, the Balcony scene:

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Reading the modernised version of Romeo and Juliet

Learning Objectives: to develop your reading skills by learning how playwrights create interesting characters through the use of dialogue; to develop your discussion and analytical skills. 

TASKS: Read my modernised version of Romeo and Juliet Act 1, doubling up roles where necessary. At the end of each scene prepare for a discussion in your books with each person taking a different role by making brief notes:

EXPLAINER: This person needs to write down what actually is happening in the play, and then QUESTION the others on what is happening.

CHARACTER TRACKER: This person notes down what the characters are like — their personalities, their behaviour — and works out what makes them interesting characters. They then get ready to QUESTION the group on what they think and will offer their views if the group is stuck.

LANGUAGE TRACKER: This person will note down the interesting language being used in the scene and discuss their views on the language with the group.

DRAMATIC TECHNIQUES TRACKER: This person will look at Shakespeare’s dramatic techniques and discuss how he creates suspense in the scene. They will need to look at the PACE of the scenes, the DRAMATIC ACTION, the DEVELOPMENT of the characters and the PLOT.





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Act 2: What happens in this act?

Learning objectives: to improve your knowledge of the play; to develop your knowledge of Shakespeare’s narrative, his characterisations and linguistic techniques.

Act 2, Scene 1

Act 2, Scene 2

Act 2, Scene 3

Act 2, Scene 4

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How does Shakespeare make Act 1 such a great opening to his play?

Learning Objectives: to develop your reading skills by understanding difficult language; to develop your powers of imagination by imagining how Act 1 might be filmed.

Before we look at filmed versions of the play, you need to understand WHAT IS HAPPENING in the play and develop your ability to understanding Shakespeare’s language.


Read by yourself until the end of Act 1, Scene 1.

Then do FIVE MINUTES free writing, saying what you think the scene is about and what you think of it — or anything else you want to say.

Read in pairs Act 1, Scenes 2 and 3.

Now write down 5 QUESTIONS to ask about these scenes.

Read Act 1, Scenes 4 and 5 by yourself.

Now do 5 MINUTES free writing on how you think Act 1 might be filmed: what actors might play what roles, what music might be used, what settings might be used.

Now brainstorm the key points in answer to this question:

How does Shakespeare make Act 1 such a great opening to his play?

Here are two PowerPoints which are quite good at highlighting the main points of Act 1. Read through them and then write your own summary (synthesize and collate).

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The BBC Production of Romeo and Juliet with captions

What do you think of this interpretation of the play?

Act 1, Scene 1

Act 1, Scene 2

Act 1, Scene 3

Act 1, Scene 4

Act 1, Scene 5

Act 2, Scene 1

Act 2, Scene 2

Act 2, Scene 3

Act 2, Scene 4

Act 3, Scene 1

Act 3, Scene 2

Act 3, Scene 3

Act 3, Scene 4

Act 3, Scene 5

Act 4, Scene 1