R&J Tableau Activity


Photo by  Simone Baldo  on  Unsplash

We love tableau! Here is an activity using the prologue from Romeo and Juliet. Download full student handout in PDF format or keep scrolling for the activity.

Please note: This activity asks students to champion sections of blocking. This way, every student gets to lead a portion of the staging instead of letting one group member design the whole piece. We strongly encourage educators to uphold the philosophy of every group member collaborates to the blocking on the piece to encourage every student to have their voice present in the creative process.

In addition to the collaborative aspect of the task, please go through and breakdown Shakespeare’s language to make sure that students are making dramatic choices based on their understanding of text.

Learning Goal: Students will communicate their understanding of staging elements by using the elements of tableau to stage the prologue of Romeo and Juliet.

Success Criteria: We are successful if we can:

  • work together with my group members, collaborating on a creative vision that showcases a variety of staging concepts

  • use levels, sight lines, focus, energy, tension, relationships, transitions and frozen images to bring the main message of the text to my audience

  • demonstrate professionalism when rehearsing, performing and giving feedback to myself, my own group members and other members in the class

Student Instructions:

In groups of four, stage the prologue from Romeo and Juliet using elements of tableau.  

Three members of your group will be the movement actors, and one member will read the prologue while the sequence is occurring.  That person may also be a movement actor or may serve as a narrator. 

You are required to have a minimum of five images and a maximum of seven images.  Every member of your group must fully participate in the design, rehearsal and performance aspect of the process.  In addition, each person in your group will be responsible for blocking a minimum of three lines of text. 

In addition to above, as a group decide how your tableau will show: 

a/ your understanding of how the following elements combine to tell a story: levels, sight lines, focus, energy, tension and relationships

b/ how the transitions and freezing in tableau images support the story that you are trying to tell 

c/ how are you going to shape your characters.  Are you going to be realistic with Romeo and Juliet or more abstract?  Do people need to play multiple characters?  How will you build a tableau scene that will tell the story clearly to the audience?   

d/ which rehearsal, audience and performance behaviour will demonstrate that you are committed NOT only to your group, but to everyone (including yourself) being successful at this task 

Staging/Blocking Organizer:

Who is blocking what?  List below.

What’s the creative concept for the whole scene? Write out the concept using three sentences or less.

How will transitions, entrances and exits help tell the story? Write out using three sentences or less. 

R&JPrologue .png

Consolidation Questions: 

  1. How did your group collaborate successfully during today’s activity?

  2. What challenges did your group encounter during today’s activity?  How did your group overcome those challenges?

  3. How did staging techniques clarify the prologue’s text? 

  4. What is one thing from today’s activity that you will take forward and use in future activities?

Download full student handout in PDF format.

Want a digital copy to edit? Purchase digital copy of activity from Teachers Pay Teachers.