By Linda Burson.
Four assembly-length adaptations of Shakespearean plays, 13 short scenes, synopses of nine plays, with questions for discussion, plus comprehensive chapters on warmups, improvisations, directing and performing. The quest for good material for young performers, in school and out, sooner or later leads to Shakespeare—wonderful material, full of challenging characters, absorbing themes, exciting plots and eloquent language. Play with Shakespeare provides a complete design for working with Shakespearean scenes and plays. For the plays most often taught in middle and high school, Linda Burson has written a scenario of the complete play, chosen short scenes (four to 11 minutes long) that challenge young people's interest, and has suggested improvisations and discussion questions that lead to greater understanding. Then, for times when you want a real production that fits into a 25- to 45-minute time allotment, she has developed four "showcase" scripts: The Three Caskets from The Merchant of Venice; Spotlight on Brutus from Julius Caesar; The Players' Play from Hamlet; and The Witches' Tale from Macbeth. These scripts don't just cut and paste to give a "Readers' Digest" version of the play. Instead they focus on one major theme—the witches, for example, in Macbeth and the players in Hamlet—and shape these scenes fully using Shakespeare's language intact with minimal internal cuts. Each is given full production notes and diagrams and suggestions for staging. One of the most practical source books you can have. 6x9—220 pages, illustrated.