Students at a high school outside of Boston, Mass., are doing an innovative version of Romeo and Juliet. The play had been selected back in the spring, then COVID reared its head. Drama teacher Jim Howard re-imagined the production to work with social distancing. Howard’s idea: an animated film with images from a graphic novel and the students’ voices recorded with the dialogue. With permission from the novel’s publisher to use the images, Howard had the students rehearse and record the dialogue. Students say that the ability to participate, some during their senior year, was critical for their mental health. The final product will be an hour-long animated film, which the cast will watch together in an otherwise empty auditorium. “That’s a great opportunity, at a time that is so difficult, to have some pride in our town and smile a little. Because we all need that. Even if it’s behind our masks,” Howard said.

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