HamLion – How Lion King is based off Hamlet

hamlion

I ask kids all the time, “Have you ever seen The Lion King? Then you know the story of Hamlet!” Well, on the most part, yes, but not exactly… I came across this great infographic that showcases the differences and similarities and well … slight differences… like, oh, I don’t know, Elton John singing?  Anyway, I thought you all would enjoy and possibly use this Hamlion graphic!!!

hamlion

Simple and Free Caesar Costumes – Toga!

bed sheet toga

Two of my Shakespeare for Kids books, Julius Caesar and Hamlet, have the need for some very simple costume material: bed sheets for toga robes. All those Roman kids wear togas and Hamlet’s dad is, of course, a ghost. Both are very simple to costume up for the stage, just get some bed sheets. However, even the cheapest bed sheets are about $4-5 a piece… too pricey for my blood. But, there is a GREAT and inexpensive solution, your local hotel. (see below for some fun photos)

All hotels go through bed sheets all … 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

Shakespeare Kids are Creative

kids are creative

So, I’ve done dozens of afterschool / homeschool Shakespeare for Kids programs.  As well as I’ve seen my plays performed all around the world. And one thing is VERY clear – these kids are creative! I want to pass on one piece of information that’s critical to anyone directing one of my plays: Let the kids harness their creativity, it will AMAZE you! Earlier today, at a rehearsal, I had one of my kids playing Hamlet say his line a about Yorick as “Yo-rick, who was this guy, a rapper?” It was impromptu, but hilarious!

I’m running a Romeo … 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

Shakespeare and Science

Shakespeare and Science

So I ran across this great article and it really got me thinking about science during Shakespeare’s time.

Shakespeare and ScienceHow much science was around (well, it was all around, but how much was discovered by the 1600s?) and how was Shakespeare influenced by science?  Well, I’ll tell you this, I’m an engineer and my wife is a science teacher, and yet, I can’t tell you much about science and Shakespeare… BUT, there is a guy who can, or at least give you an idea about science used in Shakespeare’s time and the … Continue reading

Celebrity Impersonations of Hamlet’s To be or not to be Speech

Shakespeare with celebrity impersonations

I recently came across a great video through Twitter that is pretty impressive.  Jim Meskimen is a professional impersonator and he spun together a great 2 minute video that’s both engaging and original.  He was able to perform the famous, To be or not to be monologue from Hamlet with about 25 different famous celebrity impersonations.  You can follow Jim on Twitter at: @jimrossmeskimen

You can see the video here:

And Jim has another Shakespeare from celebrity impersonations below.  This one has been seen almost 1 million times!  Not too shabby!

Lesson Idea: The Top Ten Shakespeare List

Here is a clever idea that may engage your students in a short lesson plan, as well as open their eyes and minds to what Shakespeare has brought to the table.  Create a top ten Shakespeare list.  Here are some top ten Shakespeare ideas you can work with:

  • Characters (Puck, Hamlet, Othello… Who’s #1?)
  • Re-written story lines (i.e. Lion King or West Side Story, etc)
  • Speeches (To be, or not to be)
  • Quotes (Out, damn spot, out!)
  • Phrases (Method to his Madness)
  • Words (i.e. Alligator, Minds-eye, Dalmation, etc)

Let me know if you think of more, so I … Continue reading