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Eighth Graders Put their Own Spin on Shakespeare

Jack R., Staff Writer

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Every year, eighth grade students spend months reading and studying one of Shakespeare’s greatest stories, Romeo and Juliet. After finishing the play, students make a short film out of a scene of their choice.

Tyree Simon, an eighth grade English teacher, says that the purpose of the Romeo and Juliet project is to show how a play translates from paper to the screen.

Photo courtesy of Will R.

According to a survey, almost 75 percent of the 64 eighth graders who responded said they are enjoying the project. John D., who is doing his scene in the style of Keeping up with the Kardashians, likes the opportunity to act as the main character.

Many sixth and seventh graders have never heard about the project, especially if they don’t have an older sibling.

Starting off the project, the students get together in their groups and decide on an overarching theme. Usually, each group consists of four people. Second, the students analyze the scene closely for literary devices, an understanding of the complex language, and ways to incorporate the theme. Third, the students get together and film.

According to Helen R., “It was really fun filming and getting to dress up and act.” However, modifying the script was her least favorite part of the project.

Surprisingly, about 40 percent of the surveyed eighth graders believe that planning when to meet up with their group is the hardest part of the project.

Almost 75 percent of the surveyed eighth graders have a theme for their adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, and the majority of those students are basing their short film off of a movie or tv-show.

This year, the great variety of story ideas include sports rivalries, video games, movies, dance, tv shows, among others.

However, Patrick N. and Charlie B. are filming their scenes without a theme.

On Thursday, May 17, in a miniature Oscar ceremony, groups will walk the red carpet and watch films. Awards will be given for best picture, best actor/actress,  best cameo, best screenwriting, best cinematography, best sound editing, and many others.

Daniel W. said, “I love watching the Romeo and Juliet adaptations because of their creativity and humor.”

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Eighth Graders Put their Own Spin on Shakespeare