Comedy/Drama. By Marina Stockdale.
Designed to introduce Shakespeare's work, this delightfully buoyant play may be acted by performers of any age. The action begins with a group of children playing. Sandy is reading a book-and enjoying it. Somebody asks, "What are you doing?" She answers: "I'm in the midst of a fog and surrounded by witches." Soon the conversation segues into scenes from Macbeth and four other Shakespearean plays: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Henry IV Part 1 (with Falstaff), and The Taming of the Shrew. The script was an outgrowth of the eagerness of the author's fourth-graders at the Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa, Florida, to study Shakespeare's "stories." "The selection of scenes was the result of their direct requests," Marina Stockdale said. "Unfortunately, production time did not permit the inclusion of all the scenes our students enjoyed." William's Window may be produced by elementary or junior-high students for their peers, by high-school students, or adult groups for touring to elementary and junior-high schools. Meeting Shakespeare's language in small portions, young people—those in the audience as well as those on stage—have little difficulty in accepting and understanding the lines. Introducing Elizabethan language and characters at an early age helps students handle the various types of unfamiliar language and historical figures they will meet in world literature as their education progresses. The Berkeley Preparatory School used the entire fourth grade class of 44 students on stage. A much smaller cast may be used by double-casting performers in several roles. Many parts may be played by men or women. Simple set and costumes. Approximate running time: 60+ minutes (scenes may be omitted to reduce playing time). Video available.