Over the next several weeks and months I’ll be writing a 12-part series about why drama is so important in schools. I’ll be covering several different aspects of the benefits of why we do drama, what it gives our kids that very few extra-curricular activities can give, as well as ideas and suggestions on to how to make theater a robust and staple program within your school.
I’ll be writing about the following areas of “Why Drama?”:
Ok, 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!
So, I always have fun and do my best to work the laughs for the audience in my melodramatic Shakespeare for Kids plays. That’s certainly true with my performance of Julius Caesar for Kids! I used one specific prop to get some laughs. The Magic 8 Ball! (find it here on Amazon) That’s right, the soothsayer came out to warn Caesar about the “Ides of March” and then pulled out the Magic 8-ball to prove it so! The audience loved it, and, more importantly, the kids loved using it! Fun for all!
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? 1) 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
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 →
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:
1) 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 →
So, I just performed Romeo and Juliet with a bunch of kids yesterday, and there were some fun anecdotal events that occurred that I just have to share! Maybe you can integrate these into your performance someday.
First of all, Star Wars is all the rage, so Tybalt decided to walk out on the stage with a light saber in hand ready to duel and Mercutio took one look at him and said, “Dude, wrong story!” and Tybalt said, “Oh, sorry” and walked offstage … Continue reading →
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.
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.
First 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 →
Money 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!
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 →
I read “Julius Caesar” first with my 8 year-old son and he loved it. After all it had ghosts and sword swinging… so what’s not for a boy to love.
-Pam T – Mom
Anyone who teaches young people can really use this book!
-R. Canfield – Teacher/Mom
Kelso’s ability to mix the modern language with some of the original lines helps to create a play that is engaging to watch.
-Amy – Teacher
I recently received my copy of Brendan Kelso’s Shakespeare’s Macbeth for Kids, and I can’t wait to use it in my classroom (6th/7th language arts).
-Mary E. Moore – Teacher
The only difficulty I’m having with Brendan’s versions, is that the students can’t get enough and I am having difficulty getting them to do other things. It’s actually a problem that I wish upon all teachers.
-cnaken – Teacher
Students can perform the play in language familiar to them while incorporating Shakespeare’s most famous lines.
-dbklover – Homeschool Educator
I heard it around the school for several weeks afterwards!
-sscragg – Teacher
These plays are hilarious and fun!
– M. N. Oliver – Mom
Even though Hamlet is a tragedy, for us it was more like a tragedy + comedy=tramedy!! Parents loved it. I will definitely do the play again with my new 3rd grade class next year.
-3rd grade Teacher
I highly recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a fun and interactive way of learning or teaching Shakespeare! Love, love, loved it!
-Cora – Teacher