Saturday, May 20, 2006

Shakespeare Wallah!

We've been invited to take part in a Shakespeare festival in October, at a school in Delhi where they are building a replica of The Globe. Does it get any better than this? All I need now is a Shakespeare play that I can cut to a running time of 40-60 minutes, and rehearse in six weeks with a cast of up to twenty 14-18 year-olds as soon as we get back in September. Suggestions on a blogcard please!

I'd be grateful to hear from anyone who has been in a really enjoyable school or amateur production, or on the directing/production side of an abridged Shakespeare production. I've had some practice at abridging plays and adapting a screenplay for student/children's productions.

Reservations: A Midsummer Night's Dream has been done to death, and I have nothing to bring to it. I don't want to reprise R&J so soon. Our kids are familiar with Macbeth, but I'd say that cutting it to an hour would destroy it. They've studied The Merchant of Venice, and of course, the excellent film is available on DVD to help them to a better appreciation of the style and issues, but again, editing would almost certainly skew an already ambivalent play.

I need something with a strong storyline and uncomplicated subplot, to give a handle to young actors working with unfamiliar language on a very tight schedule. I'm up for a modern adaptation too, as long as it doesn't go down the Class-3B-thought-Shakespeare-would-be-boring-until- route! (Sorry, but I've seen some dreadfully cheesy or patronising 'accessible' scripts and productions, and I have to question their worth.)

I liked the Baz Luhrman R&J, and the Michael Almereyda Hamlet with Ethan Hawke and Julia Stiles - but they're perhaps a tad sophisticated for our requirements! Has anyone seen 'O'? Is it any good?

OK, time to stop. Goodnight all!

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