Juliet is a strong character who speaks her mind and isn’t above threatening Shakespeare with an axe. It would be easy to make Juliet a “battleaxe” of a character. In this version of the story Romeo doesn’t find her attractive at all! But never forget, she wants more love and less death. She is a romantic at heart. And even if she muddles and doesn’t make the right choices, she is thinking about the good of the play. Give Juliet both a strong will and a heart.
Here’s a tip straight from the author herself, Allison Williams: “Have fun with the dance section--especially if you're not under a time limit, this can be a great chance for kids who can really move to have a shining moment. It can be great fun to use older songs with dances associated with them (a la The Electric Slide), or whatever song the kids love now.”
Using music to introduce scenes can help set the tone - try using Renaissance music (harpsichord, recorders) for some scenes and current pop music for others.
And why not start off your rehearsals listening to Allison talk about her love for Shakespeare? Click here for our podcast Interview Why Shakespeare today!
Make sure you have a good "sound tech!" Our guy was great and able to pull off the 2 musical scenes in the play, but if you had a kid doing it, it might be harder to pull those scenes off.
It worked well with a large ensemble group and I made pairs of Romeos and Juliets so that the larger roles were split across different actors. We used costume swaps to define they were the same characters. Students could then choose their favourite part to play a main role and then played ensemble roles throughout.