Create a Performance Playbill

This is a short post about an activity you can do with your kids as you get ready for the show.  As many of us directors know, there are an endless number of things you can do to prepare for the performance.  IN NO WAY, am I suggesting that you need to do a lot of things to have a successful performance.  ( I typically … Continue reading

Creative Performance Ideas

This is a quick post about a couple ideas that are awesome, and all credit goes to an amazing homeschool mom, Amy.

Recently Amy directed her small homeschool co-op in one of our plays, The Tempest for Kids. In doing so, she decided to perform it in their backyard, inspired by our own Backyard Shakespeare. That being said, she quickly renamed it, … Continue reading

Memes and Shakespeare – Class Project

shakespeare meme

First of all, this was not my idea! But, it’s a brilliant way to engage your kids with Shakespeare, especially high schoolers! All credit goes to Larry Reiff (@Mrreiff) – as he says, “All the world’s an e-stage”! Love it!

Now, onto the great idea… Shakespeare analyzed via memes.  I know this is not traditional, but hey, we are about engaging our kids with the wonderful language and stories of Shakespeare any way possible, and this is PERFECT!

So simply, he has the kids analyze a scene and then find photos and memes that go with specific phrases.  See examples below. … Continue reading

Environment is King for Drama

I was talking with a mom earlier this morning, and she said something very interesting. She said that her daughter loves my drama classes, and talks about me frequently when it comes to drama. Although I’m glad I inspire the kids, it’s not the point of this story. What is interesting is she followed up with a different comment, one that puts the previous … Continue reading

Character Line Quantities for Playing With Play Books

Over the years, I have taught EVERY single one of our plays, most of them multiple times, and some of them at least 20 times…. (Hamlet, Midsummer, R&J, Caesar, Macbeth…). But, one of the best tools for me to use is the Character Line Quantities spreadsheet to help me with casting.

A teacher asked me recently, “why don’t you share that?” Which I gladly did. But it hit me, why don’t I share this with EVERYONE?

There’s nothing like casting a play. Trying to figure out dynamics of who can synergize with who; what characters will pull the most … Continue reading

Shakespeare in Mime

A theater group in India has put together a performance of The Tempest, done completely in mime.  Designed specifically for grade school kids, in the fear that Shakespeare is leaving schools, this performance relies entirely on actions. No words, which makes the story telling that much more challenging.  Read more about this impressive performance here in the New Indian Express.

As a classroom exercise, have your kids mime a short part of one of Shakespeare’s plays. You really need to be expressive and understand the language in order to deliver a mimed performance effectively.  This will be great fun!

Let me know … Continue reading

Analyzing Shakespeare via Online NY Times Photos

This is a great article about a teacher using a very ingenious way to get her kids to learn how to analyze and read into something using context clues, even when they don’t know what they are looking at.  It’s a very clever and creative way to approach this skill set for use when analyzing Shakespeare’s text, but more importantly, a great life skill she is teaching them as well.  Big props to this wonderful high school educator.

By using the NY Times weekly WGOITP post (What’s Going On In This Picture), she was able to get her kids engaged in critical … Continue reading

Backyard Shakespeare – A Homeschool Experience

backyard Shakespeare

Backyard Shakespeare. What is that, you may ask. Well, it’s a very ingenious and creative way to engage homeschooled kids with Shakespeare, education, language arts, drama, and most importantly, fun!  

I recently had the privilege to teach a group of 7 kids Playing With Plays The Tempest for Kids and we had a BLAST! Best part, we did it in the backyard of a house of one of the homeschooling families.  Their deck was a natural stage. So, a few costumes, a few scripts, a few rehearsals, and BAM! We’ve got a fun, melodramatic Shakespeare play performing in … Continue reading

Family Reunion Readers Theater

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

Skype Classroom Visits

skype visit

As many of you know, I visit classrooms and do an engaging, interactive, “Intro to Shakespeare” experience.  However, some locations are a bit too far to get to, for example, Wales, England.  I use that example, as I have recently conducted a Skype call with a group of kids from Wales! Other than having to get up at 5am my time, it was an incredible experience!  All the kids had their questions ready and in-hand and my face was up on the big-screen for all to see!  It was fun, as the questions could be about anything. So, of the 20 … Continue reading