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A Midsummer Night's Dream: The 30-Minute Shakespeare
     

A Midsummer Night's Dream: The 30-Minute Shakespeare

by Nick Newlin (Editor), William Shakespeare
 

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Planning a school or amateur Shakespeare production? The best way to experience the plays is to perform them, but getting started can be a challenge: The complete plays are too long and complex, while scene selections or simplified language are too limited.

"The 30-Minute Shakespeare" is a new series of abridgements that tell the “story” of each

Overview

Planning a school or amateur Shakespeare production? The best way to experience the plays is to perform them, but getting started can be a challenge: The complete plays are too long and complex, while scene selections or simplified language are too limited.

"The 30-Minute Shakespeare" is a new series of abridgements that tell the “story” of each play from start to finish while keeping the beauty of Shakespeare’s language intact. Specific stage directions and character suggestions give even inexperienced actors the tools to perform Shakespeare with confidence, understanding, and fun!

This cutting focuses on three ridiculously funny and vibrant scenes from A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. The first scene starts with Puck mistakenly anointing the eyes of the wrong lovers with love potion, leading to a madcap chase scene between Helena, Lysander, Hermia, and Demetrius. Scene two features Bottom's magical transformation to an ass, always an audience favorite. The final scene is the classic play within a play, where the "Rude Mechanicals" act out with "tragical mirth" the story of Pyramus and Thisbe, with specific comic suggestions for the characters, including Lion chasing Thisbe into the audience!

The edition also includes an essay by editor Nick Newlin on how to produce a Shakespeare play with novice actors, and notes about the original production of this abridgement at the Folger Shakespeare Library's annual Student Shakespeare Festival.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Abiding by the premise that the text is supreme, Newlin's cuttings reveal the stories through the use of original dialogue and short connecting narratives to compensate for missing scenes. Each adaptation is accompanied by simple stage directions and a prop list. A sample program indicates possible double-casting of roles, and Newlin's personal notes on the pros and cons of his own high school production will embolden neophyte directors. A preface explains the origins of Newlin's adaptations, and an essay on "Performing Shakespeare," which follows the text, includes rehearsal suggestions and a discussion of the application of Aristotle's six elements of drama. A good bibliography of print and online resources completes the work. Newlin's prose is clear and explanatory, stressing the importance of understanding Shakespeare's words and of granting license to the young actors' own ideas. Problems do occur, however, with the adaptations themselves because large sections of the plays have been omitted to accommodate the time frame, and the scenes do not always follow their original order. For example, in Midsummer, readers learn that Puck has engineered Titania's falling in love with an "ass," but Oberon's reasons for wanting to humiliate her are never divulged. Geared to an older audience than Carole Cox's Shakespeare's Kids (Libraries Unlimited, 2009), Newlin's titles maintain Cox's philosophy of empowering young actors with Shakespeare's own words and could serve well as introductory texts for simple productions if additional narratives are supplied.—Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, The Naples Players, FL

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781935550006
Publisher:
Nicolo Whimsey Press
Publication date:
04/01/2010
Series:
30-Minute Shakespeare Series
Edition description:
Abridged
Pages:
61
Sales rank:
755,080
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author


Nick Newlin has performed a juggling and variety act for international audiences for 23 years.  Since 1996, he has conducted an annual Play Directing residency affiliated with the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. Nick has a BA from Harvard University with Honors 1982 and an MA in Theater from The University of Maryland with an emphasis on Play Directing.

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