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Play in rewind brings Shakespeare to life

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Bell Shakespeare’s The Players pressed fast-forward on Year 8 English students’ understanding of a classic with a performance of Romeo and Juliet: Rewind on May 16.

The theatre company’s reworking of the Shakespearian tragedy for a school audience charts the action backwards, from tragic consequences to first love. Fast paced and interactive, the 50-minute performance framed the prologue as ‘the original spoiler alert’, and gave a student and teacher small parts to play in its early stages.

English teacher Crispene Nathan donned a crown to deliver the peacekeeper’s line “Throw your mistemper’d weapons to the ground”, while Zoe concurred with the actor who played Romeo and other characters that she, like most people, knew before the play began that both Romeo and Juliet died.

Head of English Paul McGoldrick said the performance allowed students studying Romeo and Juliet in Term 2 to consider its characters and themes in a new light.

“It has been on the Year 8 syllabus for a while so we’re always looking for new and different ways to get the students to engage with the play,’ Mr McGoldrick said.

“This gives them a fresh experience at school but outside of the classroom, and a good foundation to take forward when they are studying the play in class.

“To see it performed by professional actors is an amazing experience, and it is interesting to give them something a bit less conventional.

“It creates that original thinking that they may not get through a very traditional way of teaching the text. Anything that is a little bit different will create thinking and provoke ideas and discussion. They will now be able to write about the play on a whole different level.”

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