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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: September ::
Play Recommendation
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1501  Tuesday, 13 September 2005

[1] 	From: 	Bob Linn <
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	Date: 	Friday, 09 Sep 2005 08:38:04 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

[2] 	From: 	Stuart Manger <
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	Date: 	Friday, 9 Sep 2005 13:40:43 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

[3] 	From: 	Ronald Moyer <
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	Date: 	Friday, 9 Sep 2005 08:56:19 -0500
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

[4] 	From: 	Scott Sharplin <
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	Date: 	Friday, 9 Sep 2005 08:25:22 -0600 (MDT)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

[5] 	From: 	Kristen McDermott <
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	Date: 	Friday, 9 Sep 2005 11:39:11 -0400
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

[6] 	From: 	Karma Sami <
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	Date: 	Friday, 9 Sep 2005 10:07:01 -0700 (PDT)
	Subj: 	The Shrew

[7] 	From: 	Sarah Cohen <
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	Date: 	Friday, 09 Sep 2005 11:45:03 -0700
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

[8] 	From: 	Billy Houck <
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	Date: 	Friday, 9 Sep 2005 12:20:51 -0700 (PDT)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

[9] 	From: 	Ruth Ross <
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	Date: 	Friday, 9 Sep 2005 16:18:56 -0400
	Subj:  	RE: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

[10]	 From: 	Colin Cox <
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	Date: 	Friday, 09 Sep 2005 15:21:45 -0700
	Subj:  	Re: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

[11]	 From: 	Alan Pierpoint <
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	Date: 	Friday, 09 Sep 2005 12:40:55 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bob Linn <
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Date: 		Friday, 09 Sep 2005 08:38:04 -0400
Subject: 16.1484 Play Recommendation
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

It seems to me that /A Midsummer Night's Dream/ meets all your 
requirements.  The scenery can be as simple or complex as you want it to 
be.  I think I read that it is the Shakespeare play most often performed 
by high schools.

Bob Linn

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Stuart Manger <
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Date: 		Friday, 9 Sep 2005 13:40:43 +0100
Subject: 16.1484 Play Recommendation
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

Strongly advise against LLL at High School level - very convoluted 
imagery, static, word play, tedious rhyming and as you say a real 
anti-climax of an ending. Pros can do this, High School will labour and 
wallow and flounder badly. Believe me, I've been there!!

'Dream' is obvious choice - 4 lovers, well six if you count Oberon and 
Titania, well eight if you count Theseus and Hippolyta, angry father 
Egeus, 5 wonderful comic rustic parts - including one of the top 
virtuoso comic roles of Bottom, Puck is a stunning, athletic, virtuoso 
part, fairies can be done any way you like, boys or girls, or both. 
Opportunities for music ancient or modern, dance, lighting SFX, sound 
scapes etc, fantastic costume design opportunities. DON'T change set: 
series of semi-transparent, permanent screens about four feet wide eight 
/ eleven feet high lit from both behind and in front in various colours 
- can't miss.

OR without scenery and do it in the round. Cheaper, more flexible, more 
intimate, brings the thing alive.

Can't miss.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Ronald Moyer <
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Date: 		Friday, 9 Sep 2005 08:56:19 -0500
Subject: 16.1484 Play Recommendation
Comment: 	RE: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

MND has the most balanced casting--with many substantial, enjoyable 
roles, but, happily for a high school, no single star; it is easily 
segmented into units for rehearsing with small groups. TN also has a 
goodly number of prominent and enjoyable roles, with Viola, Olivia, 
Toby, Andrew, Feste, Malvolio, Orsino, and even Maria and Fabian having 
good performance opportunities.  They are easier to access for actors 
and lay audiences than LLL.

Best,
Ron Moyer

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Scott Sharplin <
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Date: 		Friday, 9 Sep 2005 08:25:22 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: 16.1484 Play Recommendation
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

Michael,

I would recommend Twelfth Night. I directed it this winter for a drama 
club in my English Department, and it provided many wonderful occasions 
for the amateur actors to ham it up. I think it has more fools per 
capita than any other Shakespeare comedy.

If you have a surplus of females, 12th Night also has the advantage of 
being a genderbending play, which makes the audience more amenable to 
cross-casting. Our production was actually 100% cross-cast: men played 
Viola, Olivia, and Maria, and women played all the guys. It was a blast.

Scott Sharplin

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Kristen McDermott <
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Date: 		Friday, 9 Sep 2005 11:39:11 -0400
Subject: 16.1484 Play Recommendation
Comment: 	RE: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

"Midsummer" is the obvious choice, which is why it gets done so often. I 
wonder whether any high schools looking for a big production have tried 
an adaptation of Jonson's "Bartholomew Fair"? It has 21 significant 
roles, seven (or more, with gender-blind casting) of them for women. 
It's a truly funny play as long as one isn't squeamish about references 
to (but no depictions of) prostitution and a healthy dose of bathroom 
humor. Come to think of it, I may just have answered my own question.

Kris McDermott
Central Michigan University

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Karma Sami <
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Date: 		Friday, 9 Sep 2005 10:07:01 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 	The Shrew

Oh, please consider The Taming of the Shrew. Great fun for kids, esp. 
with all its metadramatic nuances. The text is valid for many 
interpretations, funny, festive, and highly performable. It worked with 
mine.

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Sarah Cohen <
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Date: 		Friday, 09 Sep 2005 11:45:03 -0700
Subject: 16.1484 Play Recommendation
Comment: 	RE: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

Given your criteria, I would suggest A Midsummer Night's Dream or The 
Tempest.

Neither requires elaborate scenery, but then I would argue that no 
Shakespeare play really does.

Midsummer definitely has a number of significant "star" parts (Titania, 
Oberon, Puck, the four lovers, Bottom, etc). The comedy is well-written 
and it is very hard to screw up (although I have seen it done). The only 
real drawback is that, as one New York theatre critic put it, it has 
been recited out loud more often than the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Tempest also has a number of strong characters - although they are 
mostly male (and Miranda can be pretty thin gruel for an actress). If 
you are open to cross-gender casting (for, say, Trinculo and Ariel), 
this is not so much of a problem. It has the advantage of being 
performed less often than Midsummer, so people are less likely to be 
sick of it.

What do the students think?

Sarah Cohen

P.S. An afterthought: let me add Twelfth Night to the list! It's 
probably better than The Tempest in terms of diversity of strong roles. 
There's Viola, Maria, and Olivia for the women; and Orsino, Sir Toby, 
Sir Andrew, Feste, and Malvolio for the men. Some of the smaller roles 
can be fun, too - Antonio, the sea captain (my first Shakespeare role), 
comes to mind - not much stage time, but he gets one swordfight and two 
tirades.

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Billy Houck <
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Date: 		Friday, 9 Sep 2005 12:20:51 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.1484 Play Recommendation
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

Michael B. Luskin asks:

 >I am helping the high school drama group choose a
 >play for performance
 >this winter.

You're right about LLL.

I've been teaching high school theatre since 1979. The most popular 
Shakespeare play (I produce 1 or 2 every year) among American teenagers 
is MND, hands down.  They love it. It's about them. Taming of the Shrew 
and Much Ado are pretty popular as well.

As You Like It and 12th Night have very strong followings as well, but 
for real comedy magic, you
can't beat the tragedies.

Billy Houck
Arroyo Grande High School
California

[9]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Ruth Ross <
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Date: 		Friday, 9 Sep 2005 16:18:56 -0400
Subject: 16.1484 Play Recommendation
Comment:  	RE: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

The students in my high school are doing "Twelfth Night" this fall. It's 
very funny and has a lot of parts.

Ruth Ross

[10]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Colin Cox <
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Date: 		Friday, 09 Sep 2005 15:21:45 -0700
Subject: 16.1484 Play Recommendation
Comment:  	Re: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

Taming of the Shrew, if the admin censors don't jump all over you. 
Midsummer Night's Dream - cast of a thousand and stars abound in each story.

Colin Cox

[11]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Alan Pierpoint <
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Date: 		Friday, 09 Sep 2005 12:40:55 -0400
Subject: 16.1484 Play Recommendation
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1484 Play Recommendation

Well, Much Ado has 4 stars, a large supporting cast, and the sort of 
matchmaking comedy that high school students respond to.  If the 
graveyard scene is too much of a "downer," I've seen it omitted in adult 
productions (lamentably, in my view).  -Alan Pierpoint

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