Students created theatrical design elements—lights, sounds, costumes, set—for Romeo & Juliet… but set in a completely different time and place. What if Romeo & Juliet were Israeli and Palestinian? Cro-magnon and Neanderthal? Irish and North Irish? How would these design elements look different? What does it take to create a design pitch that would be funded by a producer?
The idea for this project came from a thesis I wrote for theatre school that set Romeo & Juliet inside the French-Vietnamese Conflict. I realized then that the story could be applicable to any world conflict, and I decided to bring that to my students in this project. Working with Kurt Schwartz on the Physics aspect of this project was one of the easiest integrations in my co-teaching career. When I mentioned “War,” Kurt began talking about the money spent on war machines and the physics of different weapons. The idea of re-inventing these weapons of war into tools for good paired well with re-inventing Romeo & Juliet into this new time and place.
I learned that a problem between two people can create a war of politics and later, when it is declared “over,” people will find another reason for hate. I will take away with me from this project to be tolerant and do my best to cause change.
Researching the conflict was the best part of it. I got to learn so much about the culture of Israel and Palestine when drawing the costumes or sketches. I was fascinated by the war and how long it has been going on. One thing I will take away from this project is that if you let conflict and hatred go on, it spirals into a rivalry that lasts for generations and cannot be stopped.
I’ve learned about the meanings of evil, the mistakes of the past and the possibilities for the future during this project. Learning about these conflicts and finding connections between them allowed us to see why conflicts are often started.
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