RIPR in the Classroom: English and Spanish Shakespearean Theater

Dec 1, 2016

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Orlando Hernadez, who plays Romeo, conveys his love for Juliet in both English and Spanish.
Credit John Bender

Story Synopsis

A theater in Providence, Rhode Island is making an effort to get more people interested in Shakespeare, regardless of the language they speak. A touring production of Romeo and Juliet was performed in both English and Spanish. The theater first put on the play in Providence, Rhode Island, where nearly 40 percent of the population is Latino. Listen to the story to hear the experiences of the director and actors in putting on this production as a chance to showcase the culture of Latinos.

Use with grades 6-9

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.1: Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.3: Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1.d: Review the key ideas expressed and demonstrate understanding of multiple perspectives through reflection and paraphrasing.

Listening Comprehension Questions

Assign these questions to your students or answer them together in a group.

  1. What makes this production unusual?
  2. What makes native Spanish speakers in the United States feel like outsiders? How does this production of Romeo and Juliet help include them?
  3. How are the two languages used throughout the performance? Why?
  4. Why is this bilingual production particularly special in Providence, Rhode Island?

Discussion Themes
Use these questions to get students thinking at the beginning of class. They can use evidence from the story to support their ideas during a class discussion.

  1. Would you enjoy watching a play like this? Why or why not?
  2. What do you think are the benefits to being bilingual?

More Resources

Curriculum Connections:

  • Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
  • Romiette and Julio, Sharon M. Draper
  • Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare
  • Macbeth, William Shakespeare
  • The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare