So, I teach Shakespeare for Kids classes all over the place, and most venues I teach at do not come with stages. I’ve performed in gyms, dance rooms, dojos, boyscout meeting areas, and classrooms. One thing is consistent, I need a place for the actors to go “off-stage”. That is why I created easy-to-assemble sides, built to travel and make an instant performance space!
Below are the simple instructions for the inexpensive and portable sides. Once created, these sides take about 10 minutes to put up and take down, which makes them GREAT for quick performances like Continue reading →
I work with dozens and dozens of kids every year on memorizing lines and learning blocking while directing and teaching my Shakespeare for Kids plays. There’s a technique that I learned from another one of my instructors, Angi, about script highlighting that I want to share with you. Essentially, many of these kids have never been taught how to highlight or what basic blocking and stage directions are. So, to make it easy to teach these new kids, I’ve created a little saying for the kids to catch on to: IF IT’S YELLOW, IT’S WHAT YOU KNOW; IF IT’S BLUE, … Continue reading →
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!
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)
So, I recently did the play, Treasure Island for Kids, and it was an absolute blast. However, when it came to costumes, those were relatively easy, until… Long John Silver. How do I show a wooden leg on a kid, on stage? I can’t have him hoping around the entire time, bound to cause tripping issues. I can’t tie up his leg behind him, … Continue reading →
Ok, I just got these REALLY cool Shakespeare tattoos, and the kids are LOVING them! Several people have asked where they can get some, so I’ve put them on my website for you to buy if you want for your kids! Enjoy! OR I’ll send them free with any books you purchase!!!
Ok, my version of Macbeth for Kids is funny, but if you have a spare 3 minutes, this is an absolutely funny and fantastic view of Macbeth and Macduff arguing over whether Macduff was actually “born” or not! Great stuff by Timothy McSweeney:
(Macbeth and Macduff are fencing in front of a castle.)
MACBETH: Macduff! Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests. I bear a charmed life, which must not yield to one of woman born.
MACDUFF: Despair thy charm! Macduff was from his mother’s womb untimely ripped.
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” … Continue reading →
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 →
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
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
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 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
Students can perform the play in language familiar to them while incorporating Shakespeare’s most famous lines.
-dbklover – Homeschool Educator
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
These plays are hilarious and fun!
– M. N. Oliver – Mom
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
I heard it around the school for several weeks afterwards!
-sscragg – Teacher
Anyone who teaches young people can really use this book!
-R. Canfield – Teacher/Mom