Simply Shakespeare: Readers Theatre for Young People (Readers Theatre)

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  • Simply Shakespeare:Readers Theatrefor Young People

    Jennifer KrollEditor

    Teacher Ideas Press

  • Simply Shakespeare

  • Weekly Readers Read Magazine Presents

    Simply ShakespeareReaders Theatre for Young People

    Edited by Jennifer Kroll

    2003

    Teacher Ideas Press

    361 Hanover Street

    Portsmouth, NH 03802-6926

  • British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data is available.

    Copyright 2003 by Weekly Reader Corporation

    All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be

    reproduced, by any process or technique, without the

    express written consent of the publisher. An exception

    is made for individual librarians and educators, who

    may make copies of activity sheets for classroom use

    in a single school or library. Standard citation information

    should appear on each page.

    ISBN: 1563089467

    First published in 2003

    Teacher Ideas Press

    361 Hanover Street, Portsmouth, NH 03802

    www.lu.com/tips

    Printed in the United States of America

    The paper used in this book complies with the

    Permanent Paper Standard issued by the National

    Information Standards Organization (Z39.48-1984).

    10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

    Copyright Acknowledgment

    Illustrations used courtesy of Getty Images.

  • ContentsIntroduction .....................................................................................................................................vii

    As You Like It ...........................................................................................................................................1

    Hamlet: Prince of Denmark.......................................................................................................................17

    Julius Caesar............................................................................................................................................33

    King Lear.................................................................................................................................................51

    Macbeth ...................................................................................................................................................69

    A Midsummer Nights Dream.................................................................................................................91

    The Merchant of Venice........................................................................................................................107

    Much Ado About Nothing.....................................................................................................................121

    Othello ...................................................................................................................................................139

    Romeo and Juliet ...................................................................................................................................161

    Taming of the Shrew ...............................................................................................................................179

    The Tempest ..........................................................................................................................................199

    Twelfth Night ........................................................................................................................................213

    Index of Scripts .............................................................................................................................233

    v

  • Introduction

    Introducing Shakespeare to Young ReadersEffective and appropriate early encounters with Shakespeares classic stories and charac-

    ters can create a positive feeling about the Bard and his works that will remain with studentsthroughout their school years and the rest of their lives. The play adaptations in this volume aredesigned to provide just such a positive introduction to the works of Shakespeare. These adapta-tions, culled from the pages of Read magazine, have been favorites with our teacher subscrib-ersand their studentsfor years. Every year, teachers write to tell us how well theseadaptations work in the classroom and to ask us to print more. Here, finally, are thirteen Read ad-aptations of some of Shakespeares greatest and best-known works, collected conveniently inone volume. In these adaptations weve modernized Shakespeares language so that young read-ers, as well as older readers with comprehension difficulties, will immediately be able to graspand appreciate plot developments and characters motives. Weve worked to preserve the flavor

    vii

  • of Shakespeares wonderful originals while providing age-appropriate, simplified versions thatyour students can read or perform in just one or two class periods. These adaptations can be usedindependently or as a useful precursor to a classroom reading or viewing of one of Shakespearesplays in its original version.

    The Role of Readers TheatreReaders theatre plays have been a favorite feature of Read magazine for years. In readers

    theatre, the primary focus is on an effective reading of the script rather than on a dramatic, mem-orized presentation. Students are thus able to enjoy participating in play presentations withoutneeding to attend lengthy practice sessions beforehand. Generally, only minimal props or stagemovements are involved, although adding such touches does tend to enliven the production andinvite more active participation.

    Readers theatre can easily be incorporated into any language arts program. It providesteachers with an exciting way to enhance the program, particularly in todays classrooms that em-phasize a variety of reading and listening experiences. Readers theatre encourages strong oral skillsand promotes active listening for students in the audience. Perhaps most important, readers theatre isenjoyable for students and teachers and promotes interest in and enthusiasm for literature.

    Vocabulary in ScriptsBefore using the scripts, assess each one for difficulty and appropriateness of content and

    for vocabulary that might be challenging to your particular students. Prior to beginning a class-room reading with a group of students, you may wish to have individuals pre-read their ownparts, looking for words they dont understand or know how to pronounce.

    Preparing the ScriptsOnce a script is chosen for reading, make a copy for each character, plus an extra set or two

    for your own use and a replacement copy. To help readers keep their place on the page, high-lighter markers can be used to designate a characters lines within the copy.

    Photocopied scripts will last longer if you use a three-hole punch (or copy them onpre-punched paper) and place them in inexpensive folders. The folders can be color coordinatedwith the internal highlighting for each characters part. The title of the play can be printed on theoutside of the folder, and scripts can be stored easily for the next reading. Preparing the scriptsand folders is a good task for a volunteer parent or a student helper. The preparation takes a mini-mum of initial attention and needs to be repeated only when a folder is lost.

    Presentation SuggestionsFor readers theatre, readers traditionally standor sit on stools, chairs, or the floorin an

    informal presentation style. The narrators may stand slightly off to one side with their scriptsplaced on a music stand or lectern. The readers may hold their scripts in folders.

    The position of the reader can indicate the importance of his or her role. For example, in Romeoand Juliet the two title characters could be positioned in the front center of the stage area, withthe minor characters to the sides and slightly behind them. Suggestions for possible placementsare given for each individual play.

    To keep the stage area from becoming overly crowded, you may wish to have readers ofbrief parts enter or leave the area prior to and following the reading of their parts. Alternatively,readers may stand up for a reading and sit down for the remainder of the script.

    viii \ Introduction

  • Because these scripts are appropriate for developing and remedial readers, it is importantthat the students be comfortable with the physical arrangement. Students may have their ownideas about presentation strategies, and their involvement should be fostered.

    PropsReaders theatre traditionally has few, if any, props. However, you may wish to add simple

    costuming, such as hats and scarves, as well as a few props, to lend interest to the presentation.Suggestions for simple props or costuming are included with each play; however, studentsshould be encouraged to decide how much or little to add to their production. The use of props oractions may be overwhelming to some readers, and in such cases emphasis should remain on thereading rather than on an overly complicated presentation.

    DeliverySome suggestions for the delivery of lines are included in parentheses within the plays. Stu-

    dents should be encouraged to respond to these suggestions and to brainstorm delivery strategiesfor all lines. A variety of warm-ups can help students feel more comfortable with the idea of dra-matic delivery. For example, you might have the entire class respond to the following Shake-spearean situations:

    Seeing a ghostly figure appear before you

    Suspecting that others are plotting against you

    Learning that you have been the brunt of a joke

    Discovering that a long-lost family member is still alive

    Basking in the admiration of others after an accomplishment

    Refusing to give others the information they desperately want

    During their first experiences with presenting a script, students are tempted to keep their headsburied in the script, making sure they dont miss a line. Students should learn the material wellenough to look up from the script during the presentation. They can learn to use onstage focustolook at each other during the presentation. This is most logical for characters who are interacting withone another. The use of offstage focuswhere the presenters look directly into the eyes of theaudienceis more logical for narrators or for characters who are speaking to themselves.

    Simple actions, such as hand gestures or turning, can easily be incorporated into readerstheatre. Generally, the audience should be able to see the readers facial expressions and any oftheir actions during the reading. On occasion it might seem logical for a character to move acrossthe stage, facing the other characters while reading. In this event the characters should be turnedso that the audience can see the readers face.

    The Next StepOnce students have enjoyed the process of preparing and presenting these Simply Shakespeare

    scripts, you may find you want to capitalize on their enthusiasm and interest by extending the learn-ing experience. Following are some possible extension activities that you might wish to try:

    Have students read, listen to, or watch at least part of the play in its original version.

    Attend a live Shakespeare production with your students.

    Introduction / ix

  • Embark with your students on a historical exploration of Elizabethan times and the thea-tre in Shakespeares day.

    Introduce students to the structural elements of Shakespearean comedy and tragedy. Af-ter students are familiar with these forms, have them write their own comedic and tragicplays or stories.

    Introduce more sophisticated students to the Shakespeare authorship controversy. Allowthem to research the issue, then stage their own authorship debate within the classroom.

    Have students add stage directions to one of these readers theatre scripts and create astage play from the script.

    However you choose to use these scripts, we are sure you will find them a valuable additionto your language arts curriculum. Curtains up!

    Read magazine staff:

    Suzanne I. Barchers, Managing Editor

    Jennifer Kroll, Senior Editor

    Jennifer Peters, Associate Editor

    Robin Demougeot, Art Director

    www.weeklyreader.com

    x \ Introduction

  • As You Like It

    By William Shakespeare

    Adapted by Jennifer Kroll

    1

    Chapter 1

  • SummaryDuke Frederick has overthrown and ousted his older brother. The old duke now lives in ex-

    ile in the Forest of Arden, accompanied by a number of his loyal followers. The old dukes

    daughter, Rosalind, remains at court because of her close relationship with Fredericks daughter,

    Celia. While attending a wrestling match, the two cousins meet a handsome young nobleman

    who has decided to test his luck in the wrestling ring. The young man, Orlando, takes a liking to

    Rosalind, just as she does to him. However, he feels too flustered to respond to Rosalinds flirta-

    tion and fails to express his feelings. When Duke Fredericks anger turns against Rosalind, she

    and Celia escape together to the Forest of Arden, disguised as a peasant brother and sister. Not

    long afterward, Orlando also flees to the forest. But when Rosalind and Orlando meet up there,

    the young man doesnt recognize Rosalind, who is disguised as a boy. She offers to tutor the hap-

    less Orlando in the ways of love, and much silliness results.

    Presentation SuggestionsPlace the narrators, Adam, Oliver, Charles, Monsieur Le Beau, and the courtier in standing

    position or on high stools or chairs. Place the remaining characters in a front row on lower chairs

    or cushions. Make sure Rosalind, Orlando, and Celia are front and center.

    PropsDuke Frederick can wear a crown or royal robe. Orlando, Oliver, Lord Amiens, Jacques de

    Boyes, and Courtier can wear nice clothes. Phebe and Silvius can hold a stuffed sheep or a shep-

    herds staff. They can tie their hair back in bandanas or kerchiefs, wear flannel shirts, or in some other

    way denote their working-class status. Celia and Rosalind can dress in long skirts or other nice cloth-

    ing and can throw on flannel shirts or bandannas when they disguise themselves in Scene 3. To trans-

    form herself into a boy, Rosalind could put on a false mustache or pull her hair up under a cap.

    Cast of Characters(main parts in boldface)

    Narrators 1, 2, 3

    Orlando de Boyes, youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boyes

    Adam, an old servant in the de Boyes household

    Oliver de Boyes, Orlandos older brother

    Charles, a wrestler

    Celia, daughter of Duke Frederick

    Rosalind, daughter of the exiled duke

    Duke Frederick, usurper of the throne

    Monsieur Le Beau, a courtier in Duke Fredericks court

    Exiled Duke, older brother of Duke Frederick

    Lord Amiens, companion to the exiled duke

    Courtier, at Duke Fredericks court

    Silvius, a shepherd

    Phebe, a shepherdess

    Jacques de Boyes, brother of Oliver and Orlando

    2 Chapter 1: As You Like It

  • As You Like ItBy William Shakespeare

    Adapted by Jennifer Kroll

    Scene 1Narrator 1: In the orchard of Olivers house, his youngest brother, Orlando,

    stands talking with a servant.

    Orlando de Boyes: In his will, my father left his money to my oldest brother, Oliver.

    He charged Oliver with the task of raising and supporting my

    middle brother Jacques and I. Thats where my problems started.

    Oliver hates me. He sent my brother Jacques to school, but he

    wont send me.

    Adam: Here comes my master, your br...

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