About brendan kelso

Brendan is the main creative source and author behind Playing With Plays and the infamous Shakespeare for Kids series. You can typically find him inventing by day, playing with his family by night, and writing by very late night.

Book review – Break A Leg – Shakespeare for Kids

I am very diligent about getting kids on stage to perform Shakespeare, or any classic. Now mind you, I do mean in a FUN way (the whole reason I write melodramatic Shakespeare books). Following this mantra, I came across Lise Friedman, co-author of the movie Letters to Juliet. Well Lise is a performing arts guru and has authored a book called Break a Leg! The Kids’ Guide to Acting & Stagecraft.

The Review

After reading through this book (it is more like a kids acting bible than a book) several items popped … Continue reading

The Shakespeare Dictionary – Shakespeare for Kids

The Shakespeare Dictionary, otherwise known as a lexicon, is a very handy tool. For one, I have had numerous teachers contact me to ask me what a specific word means, or to understand what context a word should be used in, or in what play it was found. So, in one shot, I am going to answer all of these questions, in various ways, depending on your mode of absorption.

Shakespeare Dictionary BOOKS

First of all, the easiest for your bookshelf is to find a Shakespeare Dictionary and purchase one. Here are a couple I have used in the past, … Continue reading

Shakespeare Drama Competition with Romeo & Juliet for Kids

drama competition I recently met a teacher from Seattle who decided to use my Romeo & Juliet for Kids play to enter a drama competition for kids in Portland, Oregon.  (It wasn’t limited to just being a Shakespeare competition, but, what a fun idea that would be!) I was able to spend a few minutes with her to see what the experience was like and to give advice to … Continue reading

Green Eggs and Hamlet

I recently met a gentleman named Stephan on Goodreads.com. He shared with me a littlegreen eggs and hamlet poem he wrote: Green eggs and Hamlet. He had an interesting concept, what would Shakespeare be like if Dr. Seuss were to write him? This was his take on what he could’ve written:

I do not like ova chartreuse anymore. I will not eat them in Elsinore.
I … Continue reading

Top 10 Male Shakespeare Characters for Kids to Perform

This is my personal top 10 male Shakespeare characters “for kids”. My thoughts and judgements are based around how much fun they are to perform and play melodramatically on stage, and what you can do with the character to just enjoy and have fun with Shakespeare. This is a list of the top 10 male Shakespeare characters only, the female list will be out soon.  Also, if you have any thoughts or male Shakespeare characters you think I missed, leave a comment below!

10) Prospero – (Tempest) – He’s a wizard with his own personal Monster … Continue reading

Treasure Island for Kids is here!

These are the late nights. Writing Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island for Kids has been a BLAST! Possibly because it is my first foray outside of Shakespeare, possibly because it is about pirates (I mean, who doesn’t want to write about pirates, right?!?!) or possibly it’s because when it comes down to the launch of a new book, it’s always exciting! But, it’s finally here!

Treasure Island Cover Continue reading

“Shake it up” with Shakespeare and Elementary Kids

Recently we were able to get in touch with a wonderfully gifted AIG teacher from North Carolina, Debra Williamson, who decided to “Shake it up” with Shakespeare!

She took a few of our plays and did a trio of melodramatic Shakespeare skits with her kids. They performed Midsummer, Romeo & Juliet, and Macbeth. She referred to it as “Shake it up, Shakespeare”. Since this was such a wonderful way to approach her elementary children, we asked her to answer a few questions about her experience. Here ya go…

1) … Continue reading

What Shakespeare can teach you about…

What Shakespeare can teach you about…EVERYTHING…Okay, I find this subject rather humorous.  It seems that anywhere you look on the web, there’s some site that can tell you how Shakespeare can teach you about fishing, or karate, or making money, or whatever!  So, I thought I would just peruse the web and see what Shakespeare can teach you about…. here are just a few I found… enjoy!

Karate

Predictive Analytics

Writing

Business

Customer Loyalty

Money

Enlightenment

Social … Continue reading

Finding a New Illustrator

robert louis stevenson sketchAs some of you know I’ve been working for a while to try to find a new illustrator for a Robert Louis Stevenson caricature.  He needs to replace the Shakespeare caricature in the front row of my books.

I couldn’t quite find the right talent until I happen to stumble into a local Starbucks the other day … Continue reading

Shakespeare Insult Generator

Well hello my fellow Shakespearean insulters, or, dare I say, you bawdy, ill-breeding, maggot pies!  Just to let you know the most requested page that I get on this website is for the Shakespeare Insult Generator.  I love this for several reasons; the main one is because the Shakespeare Insult Generator is the best and fastest way for kids to engage with Shakespeare.  Another reason is that this is just plain simple fun, regardless if you’re a kid or an adult. And thirdly (if that’s even a word) who doesn’t like to engage in fun, … Continue reading