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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: March ::
Re: MND Adaptation for Children?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0690  Thursday, 7 March 2002

[1]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Mar 2002 17:09:42 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0668 Re: MND Adaptation for Children?

[2]     From:   Kristen Olson <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Mar 2002 13:56:09 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?

[3]     From:   Matthew Baynham <
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        Date:   Thursday, 7 Mar 2002 08:32:14 -0000
        Subj:   MND Adaptation for children


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Wednesday, 6 Mar 2002 17:09:42 -0000
Subject: 13.0668 Re: MND Adaptation for Children?
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0668 Re: MND Adaptation for Children?

Judi Wilkins writes, concerning the mooted "adaption" of MND: "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". Hear Hear! As I observed once before on this list, Shakespeare's
period saw probably the most consistent production of drama for
schoolchildren until our own. Why not revive some of that?

Imagine - a double bill: Marlowe's "Dido" and something by Brenton. I'd
buy a ticket.

m

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kristen Olson <
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Date:           Wednesday, 6 Mar 2002 13:56:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0651 MND Adaptation for Children?

> 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.
>
> She does not really have time to write an adaptation of her own, and was
> wondering whether anybody knew of an adaptation of "Midsummer Night's
> Dream" using modern non-Shakespearean language that would be suitable
> for performance by a Children's Theatre Company

Thomas,

Your sister might find it helpful to look at Lois Burdett's books on
performing Shakespeare with children.  The books, produced individually
by play, describe the process of producing a play with her 2nd/3rd grade
classes in Stratford, Ontario and include drawings and writing samples
from the children.  The books are quite short and are marketed as
children's books.  An interesting point Burdett's work demonstrates,
however, is the importance of using original language in the children's
production.  It seems to be the element that the children like most, and
the influence of Shakespeare's language on their own imaginative
development is not only amply evident but also quite fascinating from a
pedagogical perspective.  The background work the class does on the play
includes substantial modern-language "improvisation" as they learn about
the characters and the situations in the relevant scenes, but the final
product is an abridged version using the original language, which the
children not only handle but love (not to mention learn from).  I think
the series is marketed as "Shakespeare for Kids", i.e. "A Midsummer
Night's Dream for Kids."  I actually learned quite a bit from this
series on how to introduce Shakespeare's language to
bright-but-intimidated college students who've held it at arm's length
if they've even been exposed to it at all.  I wish there were more Lois
Burdetts out there!  Congrats to your sister for taking the project on.

-Kristen Olson

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Baynham <
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Date:           Thursday, 7 Mar 2002 08:32:14 -0000
Subject:        MND Adaptation for children

A colleague and I are currently supervising two groups of joint major
Eng Lit/Primary Teacher students who are putting on 45 minute
performances of R+J and 12th Night for children aged 10-11 years. Like
most SHAKSPER contributors in this stream, we've encouraged them to cut
rather than 'translate': but we've had difficulty in finding books
dealing with the theory of why and how to do Shakespeare in the Primary
School to help the students reflect upon and write about their
experience. (Incidentally, the 'why' in England and Wales is now partly
that it's a required part of the Key Stage 2, 9-11 year old curriculum).
Does anyone know of anything we can point them to?

Matthew Baynham

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