Monday, July 13, 2009

Recess: The Script

The town of Stratford, Ontario, in Canada houses the continent's largest Shakespearean theater festival.

It is also the home of one Lois Burdett, a former second-grade teacher, now retired. For over twenty years, Lois incorporated the study of Shakespeare's life and productions of his plays into her curriculum with seven-year-old children.

She adapted and published a series of the plays in a collection called Shakespeare Can Be Fun!

When I wanted to launch my own program, I called Lois for tips and, frankly, encouragement. She was generous with her time, helpful in answering questions, and left me with the belief that it could be done and it could be fun.

Over the four years of my program I have used many of Lois Burdett's texts and paid her well-deserved royalties.

I always have one or two narrators to keep the plot moving and Lois' adaptations are helpful for that. I also add in quite a bit of original text from the Bard himself.

The recipe, so far, has worked in keeping the productions down to 45 minutes or less.

"Twelfth Night" clocked in at 30 minutes. It was hard to keep the story straight but, having acted in two productions of this play myself, I can say at a full three hours it's still a complicated comedy.

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