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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: March ::
Re: MND Adaptation for Children?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0668  Wednesday, 6 March 2002

[1]     From:   Billy Houck <
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        Date:   Tuesday 05 Mar 2002 12:22:37 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?

[2]     From:   Steve Roth <
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        Date:   Tuesday 5 Mar 2002 09:38:39 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?

[3]     From:   Nicole Reinsel  <
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        Date:   Tuesday 05 Mar 2002 12:48:18 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?

[4]     From:   Todd Pettigrew <
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        Date:   Tuesday 05 Mar 2002 14:29:00 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?

[5]     From:   Judi Wilkins <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Mar 2002 15:04:42 +1100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?

[6]     From:   Hardy M. Cook <
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        Date:   Wednesday, March 06, 2002
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Billy Houck <
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Date:           Tuesday 05 Mar 2002 12:22:37 EST
Subject: 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?

Dear Thomas:

Please tell your sister that in my 20-odd years experience with
Shakespeare and young people, "modern language" versions do more harm
than good. If they wish to create their own adaptations, that's one
thing, but the assumption that because they are young the language must
be dumbed down for them will create suspicion and resentment. If she
wants a bite-size piece of MND, have the kids do Pyramus and Thisbe.

Billy Houck
Arroyo Grande High School

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Roth <
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Date:           Tuesday 5 Mar 2002 09:38:39 -0800
Subject: 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?

Thomas Larque wrote:

>My sister is a Drama Teacher who works on Saturdays for a small
>Children's Theatre Company.  She is currently planning to do some work
>on "Midsummer Night's Dream" and although she wants to show her young
>actors some scenes from Shakespeare's original, she is hoping to finish
>with them performing a modern language adaptation of the play.

Why would she possibly want to do that? My wife recently spearheaded a
kids' production (6-9 year olds) of MSND using Shakespeare's language.
They did great.

You have cut beyond mercilessly, but hey--kids are language acquisition
*machines.* They learn the lines no problem, and though they may not
understand everything, I think we'll agree that's true of adults as
well.

Steve
http://princehamlet.com

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nicole Reinsel
 <
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Date:           Tuesday 05 Mar 2002 12:48:18 EST
Subject: 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?

Lois Burdett wrote an adaptation of MND in her series "Shakespeare Can
Be Fun."  This may or may not be useful to you, depending upon the age
of the children in the troupe, because the adaptation is written as a
poem/play in rhyming couplets and thus would be suitable for children in
primary school.  Ms. Burdett has also done adaptations in this same
style of several other of Shakespeare's plays. Offhand, I don't remember
the publisher, but I'm sure you could do an online search for the book
sin

Nicole Reinsel

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[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Todd Pettigrew <
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Date:           Tuesday 05 Mar 2002 14:29:00 -0400
Subject: 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?

Though not exactly what you are asking for, your sister might look for a
copy of A Midsummer Night's Dream for Kids (1997, ISBN 1-55209-124-4) by
Lois Burdett.  It's part of a series entitled Shakespeare Can Be Fun!
and is published  by Firefly Books.  The text is not a script, but
rather the story told in rhyming couplets -- but including adapted
dialogue.

It might be a good starting point.

t.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judi Wilkins <
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Date:           Wednesday, 6 Mar 2002 15:04:42 +1100
Subject: 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?

Why change the language?  Unless they are very small children (in which
case why bother with bastardised bard?), give 'em the real thing.  Much
of the language in MSD is extremely accessible, and the situations are
more than accessible to kids.  I have done P and T, both rehearsal and
performance (I don't have a script currently to hand, so I'm not sure of
Act/Scene) with slow learner 14yolds, and it went down a treat.  My then
12 year old son and some classmates did P and T for the Globe School
S'peare Festival.  They also did their own group direction with minimal
teacher intervention, and they had no trouble with the words at all.  It
was incidentally extraordinarily funny and quite naughty; they not only
got all the dirty jokes, but found quite a few new ones!  The fight
scene with Hermia and Helena, and the four lovers in the woods are also
good for kids. I sincerely hope your sister isn't doing 'pretty fairies'
because the fairy scenes are pretty, and fairies are nice for children,
and all the little girls can wear their ballet tutus and shoes and
twinkle toe it around to Mendelssohn. If she wants to do a workshopped
whole play, it begs the question why do Bill?  I hope that by
adaptation, you don't really mean Bowdlerised. Lots of great modern
stuff around for youth theatre that kids can really get their teeth
into.  Howard Brenton's "Plays for a Poor Theatre" is a good start.

Cheers,
Judi

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:           Wednesday, March 06, 2002
Subject: 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?

I too would suggest not adapting the text; instead do what all directors
do -- cut the text and make some substitutions of an occasional word for
another.

The older of my two extraordinary daughters (who is a member of this
list, a junior majoring in theatre, and a week away from her
twenty-first birthday) would come home from school when she was six and
ask me to put on a video of Dream for her to watch. She enjoyed the play
so much that she convinced her Montessori teacher to have the class read
and enact some of it. This was a combined class of first through third
graders. She became a subscriber to what is now the Shakespeare Theatre
and to Arena Stage when she was seven or eight. And by the time Melissa
was about twelve, she was Lysander in an all-children

 

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