Editing Shakespeare for Middle School and High School Performances

 Having taught Gifted English in high school and Gifted Reading in junior high school, I’ve had occasion to do productions of Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, and Midsummer Night’s Dream. Producing Shakespeare’s plays with these energetic, highly creative young thespians was always fun and challenging.  The first obstacle to a good production is the text itself that will be used for the play and the length of it.   Here is what I do:

1. Buy a Dover edition of the play for every student. (Cost is only a dollar or two each)

2. Arm every student (and myself with a yellow highlighter)

3. Students then highlight only what I read aloud.  It takes about two-three class periods to work through the whole play.  I basically try to work it down to the essence of the play.  We might read through the play another time, cutting some more or adding important lines that I missed.

4. The end result is a coherent, 40 minute play of Shakespeare.  In a later post, I’ll have an example of a scene I’ve edited and used and explain my rationale behind it.

Book News:

Yesterday, I did a rewrite of my upcoming children’s book,  The Little Confederate’s ABC Book.  As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I’m on my way today to Fort Worth to do some work with some schools and some of my contacts there.  I should return late Wednesday night or sometime Thursday, depending on how the work goes.

I’m also preparing  25 press kits for the Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend Weekend in January. I’m scheduled to be on a panel with some other Louisiana writers and maybe a presentation or workshop as well.  I made the Dallas Morning News! Michael Mershel, the book editor, listed me and the other participants of the Pulpwood Queens Weekend. You can read more about it here, on the Books blog: Texas Pages for the Dallas Morning News: http://books.beloblog.com/ archives/2007/12/ pulpwood_queens_weekend_shapin.html#more