Family Resource Guide
Before or after you see the Teen Shakespeare Production of Romeo and Juliet, check in with our Family Resource Guide to know the play better!
The play begins with a fight between the Montagues and the Capulets – two of Verona’s noble families who are bitter enemies of one other. Weary of this feuding the Prince proclaims death to any of them who are caught fighting again.
Romeo (a Montague) and his friends, Benvolio and Mercutio, decide to crash a Capulet party, where Romeo falls instantly in love with Juliet Capulet. When Juliet’s Nurse tells Romeo and Juliet who the other is, they are distraught. However, when Romeo’s friends leave, he stays to see Juliet and they exchange vows of love.
Romeo enlists his friend, Friar Laurence, to marry them in secret. That afternoon Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt, challenges Romeo to a fight. When Romeo refuses to fight, his friend Mercutio fights Tybalt and is killed. Enraged, Romeo kills Tybalt. As punishment the Prince banishes Romeo from Verona on pain of death but Friar Laurence and the Nurse help Romeo spend his wedding night with Juliet before he has to leave.
Meanwhile Juliet’s father, Lord Capulet, wants Juliet to marry Count Paris not knowing she‘s already wed. Juliet goes to the Friar for help, and they hatch a dangerous plan: Juliet will take a sleeping potion that will give her the appearance of being dead and, when she is safely buried in her family’s tomb, Romeo will rescue her. Unfortunately Romeo doesn’t hear about their plan, and when he discovers Juliet “dead,” he immediately takes his own life by drinking poison. When Juliet awakens to see Romeo dead, she puts his dagger through her heart.
After the Show
Now that you’ve seen Romeo and Juliet, you can talk about the following topics with your family:
- Who’s to blame?
Who do you think is responsible for Romeo and Juliet’s deaths? Did they die because of the
choices that they made or do you think that others around them let them down.
- Make a change!
Imagine that you could save one person’s life in the play, who would it be and why?
- Visit Verona!
If you could go into Romeo and Juliet’s world and talk to one of the characters, who would it be?
- Talk about today!
Shakespeare wrote this story almost 500 years ago but there are many elements of the
story that are still happening in our world today. What situations or feelings in the play
do you notice happening today.
Tell us what you think by writing a letter or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
External Resources & Links
- Want to hurl some insults with some class? Try using this Shakespearean Insulter link to generate some fun insults.
- Want to speak like Shakespeare? Then use this translator to help you talk like a sixteenth century local.
- How about taking the action home with you? Here are a variety of movies based on and inspired by Romeo and Juliet: Gnomeo & Juliet (2011)[dir. Kelly Asbury – animated]; Romeo + Juliet (1996)[starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes]; Shakespeare in Love (1998) [starring Joseph Fiennes) and Gwyneth Paltrow]; and West Side Story (1961) [starring Natalie Wood & Richard Beymer].