Plays, Poems and Pratfalls: Will Shakespeare, An Introduction
- 45 Minutes
- 1 or 2 Males, 1 or 2 Females
$7.95 – $40.00
A 45-minute introduction to various works of The Bard. Written to be performed by 2 or 4 actors within a single class period. ideal for ages 8 – 12. Includes excerpts from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, As You Like It, and one of the sonnets: number 18. Printable PDF available
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Performance Fee $40.00 A Production License Fee Per Performance (mandatory for all performances)Apply for Performance Rights
It’s a cross between traditional theater (incorporating as much action as the director chooses) and classic storytelling — narration to set the scene, make the transitions and move the tales along.
The play includes:
- an excerpt from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- a highly condensed version of Hamlet
- two well-known monologues from As You Like It
- one of the sonnets: number 18.
With condensed scenes from popular Shakespeare plays and excerpts from the sonnets, it provides an inviting introduction to the Bard’s work and language for young students.
Plays, Poems, and Pratfalls: Will Shakespeare, an Introduction, was written by Evan Guilford-Blake.
From the Play
Download Script Sample PDF
Plays Poems And Pratfalls – An Introduction the Shakespeare
Hi, I’m (ACTOR’S NAME).
And I’m (ACTOR’S NAME)
And we’ve got something special for you
From the works of William Shakespeare.
Now, most of you have probably heard of Shakespeare — he wrote a lot plays and poems.
Oh boy did he: thirty-seven plays! And 154 poems.
[Has anyone seen one of Shakespeare’s plays?]
[IF THE AUDIENCE ANSWERS “YES”]
[What did you see?]
[Oh, I love (PLAY NAMED BY AUDIENCE MEMBER). All those witches and swordfights
and funny-looking costumes [OR: fairies and mistaken identities and funny-looking costumes OR THE APPROPRIATE EQUIVALENT FOR THE NAMED PLAY].
Would you want to wear a toga? Me neither.
IF THE AUDIENCE ANSWERS “NO” OR IF THERE’S NO RESPONSE
[Well, I have. I really loved two of them! One had witches and swordfights
and funny-looking costumes, and the other had fairies and mistaken identities and funny-looking costumes. Would you want to wear a toga? Me neither.
Has anybody tried to read anything he wrote?
[What did you read?]
[What did you think about it?]
Kind of strange, huh? All those weird words that don’t make any sense, like
Fair is foul
And foul is fair
Hover through fog and filthy air.
Well, they were written more than four hundred years ago — Shakespeare lived in England, from 1564 till 1616 — and the language does sound kind of peculiar today, especially the first time you hear it.
But — the stories the plays tell, and the ideas in them, can be both fun and exciting
And, once you know the story of a play, the language is a lot easier to follow.
So, this morning we’re going to tell you some of the stories
And introduce you to some of the characters
of William Shakespeare.
And we thought we’d start off with something absolutely ridiculous.
Kind of like you?
Well! This is a story about sprites and fairies
And strange happenings
From one of Shakespeare’s silliest comedies
A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Like most plays, it has several stories in it, which are called plots
And one of them has to do with Oberon and Titania, the King and Queen of the Fairies.
When the play begins, Oberon and Titania are very upset with each other because each has accused the other of being in love with
Shame, shame on them. —
(Singsongy, to WOMAN)
Titania loves a mortal, Titania loves a mortal
(Sticks her tongue out at him)
Titania goes off in a huff
And Oberon decides to play a little trick on her
With the help of Puck, his chief sprite.
So, imagine: It’s the middle of a warm summer night.
You’re in a great forest
Filled with the sounds and the smells of animals and birds,
As we bring you Oberon, the Fairy King, meeting with Puck…
My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou rememb’rest
Since once I sat upon that great high cliff
And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin’s back
Singing in such a sweet and harmonious voice
That the rude sea grew civil at her song,
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres
To hear the sea-maid’s music.
That very time I saw (but thou couldst not)
Flying between the cold moon and the earth
Cupid, all armed. A certain aim he took
And loosed his arrow smartly from his bow
As it should pierce a thousand hearts.
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before, milk-white, now purple with love’s wound,
And young girls call it love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flow’r; the one I showed thee once.
The juice of it, on sleeping eyelids poured,
Will make a man or woman madly love
Whatever next live creature it may see.
Fetch me this flow’r, and come back here again
Before the great sea creature can swim a league.
I’ll go once around the earth and be back
In forty minutes.