The Juliet Letters
For this activity students will need copies of the printed resources found here.
Students will enjoy starting the class with an open discussion of the Met performance. What did they like? Did anything surprise them? What bothered them? What would they like to see or hear again? What would they have done differently? The discussion offers an opportunity to apply the notes on students’ My Highs & Lows sheet, as well as their thoughts about the design of the set—in short, to see themselves as Roméo et Juliette experts.
At some point, be sure to mention the many versions of Romeo and Juliet that have been created over the years. The point is not, as in the pre-viewing activity, to consider similarities and differences, but simply to recall the tale’s universal appeal—and to introduce a true story that students may find downright weird.
Romeo and Juliet, of course, are imaginary. But Verona is a real town in Italy, proud of its real (which is to say, fake) “Juliet’s Tomb”—a genuine 13th century abbey. In 1990, some citizens of Verona formed the Juliet Club. They’re not only fans of the story. They have a higher calling. They answer the thousands of letters that arrive in Verona each year, addressed to Juliet Capulet. They even hold a bestletter-to-Juliet contest!
Letter writers tell Juliet about their loves, praise her, even offer advice, though it’s probably somewhat late. We include two examples found here; you can learn more about the club at www.Julietclub.com/en/club.asp.
To round off their Roméo et Juliette experience, then, invite students to write their own letters to Roméo or Juliette. What they write can be up to them: They can tell Roméo whether they feel the Met did him justice; praise or criticize Juliette for her “real life” suicide; offer advice, even request advice.
If it’s appropriate in your classroom, students can read their letters to one another. And of course, if they like, they can send copies off to Juliette at the Juliet Club, via Galilei 3, 37100 Verona, Italy or, in the spirit of the two lovers’ timelessness, info@Julietclub.com.