Family Reunion Readers Theater

family reunion

Readers Theater is always a fun time, and even more so with my melodramatic stories which are short and funny. But, they are even funnier with a family reunion. As we all know who the hams are in our families, don’t we?

This past holiday season, when our family came together for Thanksgiving as well as Christmas, we did a readers theater three different times (it’s officially a family tradition now!)  What a BLAST! My son made sure he was the director, and he gave out 3-4 books that we all shared. Then he made impromptu costumes that we all … Continue reading

Shakespearean Tragedy Bingo

Shakespearean Tragedy Bingo Card

Shakespearean Tragedy Bingo CardOk, let’s start with, I didn’t make this… but, it’s pretty darn cool! (credit to Mya Gosling) Shakespearean Tragedy Bingo.  My first thought was, it’s going to be a pretty long game.  But, my second thought was to actually make this into a game.  Have all the different scenes that relate to the squares put in the “Shakespearean Tragedy Bingo” bag.  Pull out the scene and play, review it slightly for a quick learning lesson, and have the kids mark their cards!

If … Continue reading

25 Facts about The Jungle Book

Rudyard Kipling

In order to celebrate the launch of my 13th book, Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book for Kids, I put together a little “Did you know?” page.  It’s different things we learned along the path of creating this melodramatic 15 minute play from the original works of Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Enjoy!

DID YOU KNOW?
Rudyard Kipling1) Disney’s cartoon version of The Jungle Book didn’t follow Rudyard Kipling’s actual story, it was “inspired” more than “based” on the book

2) The Jungle Book is a collection of 7 short stories and … Continue reading

Yorick the Break Dancer (Yo-Rick!)

Hamlet cover

In my most recent direction of my Hamlet for Kids there came the moment when the young actor comes on stage and says the line, “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him. When I was a kid, he was the jester, the funniest guy I knew.” And the play moves on… but, this one kid, as he was going through rehearsing in many different ways, stumbled on saying it as “Yo, Rick” and his first improv was around, “Who is this Rick guy?”  But, he settled for going with the break dancer avenue, as he put it, “the best breakdancer I ever knew…” Well, see … Continue reading

Death Auditions – Give me your best Death!

Caesar

I recently coached a parent who was running an after-school program, and she asked me how I do the “death auditions” for my plays.  It made me realize that I haven’t done a simple quick layout of my first day for a while, so, here it is:

Caesar1) I do a 5-8 minute, melodramatic solo performance of what ever play I’m doing.  I typically pull a few kids out, and have them die during the solo performance, they love it… I’ll always say something when they stand up after dying, “hey, dead people … Continue reading

The Merchant IN Venice!

venice ghetto

That’s right, I said “IN”, the Merchant IN Venice! Read below from one of our guest bloggers about a rare opportunity…

I have always wondered how it would be to see Shakespeare’s characters in the places which the Bard himself thought for them, how it would be to see Lorenzo wooing Jessica outside a Venetian palace or Shylock claiming the “pound of flesh” that Antonio owed him. Now you have the opportunity to walk through the streets (or “calli” in the Venetian dialect) which have inspired Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice.

In the summer of … Continue reading

Hamming it up with Hamlet for Kids

I just finished a five-week afterschool program doing Hamlet for Kids the melodramatic version. So, I thought I would list a few pointers to make this particular class more fun and melodramatic for you and your kids.

Hamlet for KidsFirst of all, the funniest part of the entire play is the last scene, everybody dies onstage, every kid LOVES to die on stage melodramatically! Focus on having fun and getting this scene dialed in. It allows your play to end on a successful note as well as it is the funniest part of the … Continue reading

Grants for Teachers

Shakespeare grants

Shakespeare grantsMoney is not easy to come by for teachers. But, filling out a simple form for some classroom cash, is!!!  This link was sent to me, from the Kids in Need Foundation, and I want to pass it on to all the teachers – so please share!

Grants for Teachers

So, if you happen to be into Shakespeare and also just happen to want a group of my books signed for your kids and you HAPPEN to get one of these grants… I’m not going to stop you from … Continue reading

Why Shakespeare Tragedies are funnier than Comedies

Tragedies simplified

Ok, this is a short little post about a great little document that I found. Full credit to Cam Magee, and he summarizes this best: Everybody dies.  And THAT is why tragedies are funnier than comedies, when performed by kids melodramatically!  From the data I have collected (watching kids perform) ALL kids LOVE to die on stage! Especially, if it’s melodramatic… if they can get a laugh from the audience, the kids are all into it.  That’s part of the secret of my books, they’re fun to perform! Nothing like the end of Hamlet where there are several dead bodies … Continue reading

Classroom Insult-a-thon

shakespeare insult video

Classroom Insult-a-thon

(Don’t forget, April 23rd is National Insult Like Shakespeare Day!)

It’s simple and fun and works like this:

  • Everyone writes up 3-4 different insults using the Shakespeare Insult Generator
  • They spend about 5-10 minutes practicing their insults, working on generating the appropriate delivery with angst!
  • Split the class into 2 groups that line up against each other
  • FIRST ROUND of insults: one student from each group steps forward and they insult each other with one of their insults.
  • The teacher, or some voting panel, votes for the best insult.  Loser … Continue reading