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Shakespeare teaching ideas

The Shakespeare Prank

Ahh, Puck! My absolute favorite of all Shakespeare’s characters.  I associate the most with him and his mischievous ways, and that is why I probably like him so.  But, he is also the perfect character to kick off a post about Shakespeare Pranks.

Okay, this isn’t an actual Shakespeare prank, not yet, anyway.  I am big into the creative process of a prank or a practical joke. I have history of doing practical jokes on people. I’ve always considered a practical joke simply a canvas for creativity. This past week I completed a practical joke on a fellow coworker who resisted putting any art on his wall, he took a week of vacation off, and I “arranged” for art to be applied while he was away. See the video below for the great fun it was…Slimetopia:

But after it was done, it really got me thinking about doing a Shakespeare Prank. Now, I cannot exactly do a Shakespeare prank on somebody here at work, not the right forum. However, there is a chance that you can!  That’s right, you!  Now, the school setting or theater setting, would be a great place to stage a Shakespeare prank. How great would it be to rally a class of kids together to pull a Shakespeare prank on another class or teacher within the school? Maybe it’s a MacBeth witch theme prank and they pull everything out of a teacher’s, or principal’s, office and replace it to look like the witches cave? or a Hamlet themed prank, where they fill every desk in a rival classroom with skulls? or some such craziness. Maybe they do an “impromptu” Mechanicals flash mob a do a scene from A Midsummer Nights Dream in the middle of another’s class!!!  Oh, I can just see the chaos now!

I can start brainstorming a big list, but really, it’s about starting the idea then stoking the fire and letting the kids be creative with their ideas. I’ve always found, I start with a good foundation, add a little craziness and excitement, and everybody else will keep adding in ideas. And with Shakespeare, they can rally all the ideas around a specific play, helping to better understand all the symbolics of that particular storyline. What a great lesson idea this could be.

Do me a big favor, if you do this, please let me know and send me the video you create. Time progression pictures are always the best, as well as the reaction!

For more inspiration, here are a few other pranks that I have done in the past…

The Troll Door – we actually replaced and framed in his office door with a tiny troll door!

The Hen House – This was in retaliation to turning my office into an aquarium with 800 balloons!!!

Credit for the feature image to Great Scott – that’s a phenomenal drawing of Puck, the most mischievous prankster of them all!

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By 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.

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