Professional Actors Bring “Romeo and Juliet” to the Middle School


Charlotte Arzouian, Middle School Editor

Our life constantly lends itself to choices; whether that is to complete an assignment in the current or save it for later, impulsively adjust a last detail on a project before the deadline, or to plan events accustomed to our schedules. Although our decisions are massively based on judgment in our situations, they have an immense impact on our future. The essence of the topic is generally connected to Poly’s integral values of the community, for, “to be or not to be”; that is the question. 

In the 2022-2023 school year, seventh graders delved into the classical love story of Romeo and Juliet, two star-crossed lovers, emerging in a bloody duel, whose mutiny disrupts their relationship and eventually causes them to take their lives.

The book contains original sonnets, multiple soliloquies from both the main and supporting characters, and also, an impressive range of figurative language, including alliteration, metaphors, and paradoxes at the heart of literature. 

Originally, the story was deemed a rather interesting choice for 7th graders, as Shakespeare’s infamous utilization of old language often mystifies people within its path, however, multiple students expressed that it forced them to grow through their lifelong journeys as readers and writers. Although she would not normally read it outside of school, 7th grader Eleanor Kempf expressed that “It was a fun book to read during class as we acted it out.” Reenacting the scenes with everyone assigned to a character created a sense of understanding, as though they were actually included in the story. 

The Middle School English Department has also implemented an exclusive live performance on May 1 in another effort to enhance students’ experience with the book within the last couple of weeks of school.  

7th grade Englishteacher Lee Marcus attended a week-long professional development program this past summer, in which he was directed to a group of cast members, who he connected with and asked them to visit Poly in the spring as a total of one of their jaw-dropping seventy shows in the year.

Introduced with a series of teaser clips, where faculty embodied the ancient mutiny between the kingdoms — the performance was thoroughly enjoyed by the grade. The cast reiterated that their play was a different type of theater sensation,  in which they would interact with the audience. The play was followed with a series of proposed statements where the audience had to share their opinion by motioning different hand signals. They also described that they memorized the lines using a technique known as ‘whisper reading.’ 

Next year, from January 11-16, students will also have an opportunity to travel to London, and experience a candle-lit play and a tour of the major sights and resonance the city has to offer. However, due to overapplication, students will be entered into a lottery and chosen at random.

The students’ final project is rooted in the book, where they will have to performa scene, and  write an analytical paragraph touching on a theme in the book. Marcus explained that “love, attraction, deception, violence, gender roles, family, and more really come alive,” and are put into perspective in the story, offering a meaningful lens to observe as the year comes to an end.