As well as looking at how we’ve staged Romeo and Juliet, which you can do in the Investigate section, it’s important to think about what you would do if you were staging the play. And, if you can, to perform parts of it yourself.

We encourage you to look at the play, or scenes in the play, and think through the decisions a director makes with their actors:

  • Where is the play set?
  • How are the characters connected?
  • What do the characters want?

Here you can find some key things to think about before staging the play yourself. Even if you’re working towards an exam or preparing for an assignment, it’s important to think about different ways of reading lines or words and taking a look at the key decisions a director needs to make could really help your essay responses.

  • Key decisions to make

    There are certain things that every director and creative team consider when staging Romeo and Juliet. The following key things will be discussed in every production, but the way you answer these questions below can create incredibly different interpretations of the play.

    The Feud

    • In what ‘world’ could the feud, where two families are constantly fighting each other, exist?
    • What are the reasons for the feud and who is involved?
    • Does the argument between the two houses affect everyone, or some household members more than others?
    • Why has it taken over every level of family life for the Capulets and Montagues?

    The Church and Religion

    • How religious are the two families and the people in them? How does this affect the choices they make?
    • How much power does the Church have in Verona?
    • Has the religion influenced the architecture and costume in this world?

    Status and Society

    • How much influence does the Prince have in Verona?
    • How important are the two families? What power do they have?
    • Why do the men have so much power over the women and why and how is this accepted?
    • How old are Romeo and Juliet and what impact does this have on their status?
    • What is the status of Mercutio and Paris within Verona?
    • How do you represent love, and how believable is Romeo and Juliet’s love? How does it compare to the other relationships and marriages in their society and what is expected of them?

    Within each of these choices, there are lots of key moments and scenes to explore.

    Going back through the Investigate section and looking at the different performances we’ve had at the RSC, think about those three areas:

    • Can you see how each director has explained the feud? Why do you think they have made those choices?
    • How is the church and religion presented?
    • What type of society is the play set in?

    To explore a particular production in even more detail, looking at the specific choices and thinking behind them, take a look at the Casebooks for the 1947, 2006 and 2008 Romeo and Juliet productions.

Teacher Notes

This page looks at some of the key decisions a director makes.

Challenge your students to think about how they would want to tell the story of Romeo and Juliet in their community. How would they respond to the questions here?