There are two things that every project should cover:
1) what’s your vision for your adaptation (Romeo + Juliet from Paris’s perspective? trans Romeo & Juliet? contemporary gang warfare Romeo & Juliet? Corporate raider Hamlet? Twelfth Night as The Office? these are all ideas that have come up in class!). This is the big picture. What story are -you- trying to tell by adapting the play? What do you want your audience to understand about the play and about the world beyond it? What’s the point of adapting the play in the way you want to adapt it? What will it add to what’s already out there?
2. You should think about form. Is your adaptation a play, a movie, a television series, a graphic novel? Why did you choose that form? What are you hoping that form will emphasize about the play? What audience will it reach? What changes will it demand? How will it work with the structure of the play you’ve chosen? The characters? The language?
3. Then, once you’re in a form, you’ll want to pick out a few elements of that form and imagine them more thoroughly. If you’re picking a graphic novel, you might want to talk about the art style, page layout, character design. If you’re thinking about a movie, you might want to talk about costumes, soundtrack, casting. Think about those things specificallyyou might imagine what Juliet will wear to the masquerade ball, how Viola would dress in menswear, or what Ophelia wears that drags her down to her death. If you’re thinking about the soundtrack, make a tracklist! When does each song play? Why did you pick it? These individual briefs should each be 1-2 pages long and help you expand on your vision for your adaptation. You might also wish to describe a scene with stage directions and director’s notes, imagine a poster or press release, or add anything else that comes to mind.
Finally, you should reflect on how your project comes together. How do you feel about the adaptation you’re imagining? What challenges and what rewards have you found in it? Do you think it illuminates the play or adds to it? How? How does it feel to think about adapting Shakespeare for a contemporary world, and what does the attempt to do so bring up for you?