Character Line Quantities for Playing With Play Books

Over the years, I have taught EVERY single one of our plays, most of them multiple times, and some of them at least 20 times…. (Hamlet, Midsummer, R&J, Caesar, Macbeth…). But, one of the best tools for me to use is the Character Line Quantities spreadsheet to help me with casting.

A teacher asked me recently, “why don’t you share that?” Which I gladly did. But it hit me, why don’t I share this with EVERYONE?

There’s nothing like casting a play. Trying to figure out dynamics of who can synergize with who; what characters will pull the most out of which kids; more seasoned kids get more lines; a kid’s last show of their school career – do they get the lead? Did I give too many lines to a novice actor?

That last question sometimes worries me… as some parts may seem small (Friar Lawrence in R&J) Yet are one of the bigger parts. (2nd most lines in that play) And, in many of our plays, many actors get 2 or even 3 parts to play. (Did I give too many lines with multiple parts?)

So, a while back, I created and Character Line Quantities sheet that helps me cast my shows. Well, the main reason I never shared it is that it’s just a simple spreadsheet and not fancy, and NOT completely filled out. Well, that’s not a good reason. So, see the link here to have access to it. And if you have any questions, let me know!

Each play has its own tab on the bottom. If you don’t see a play, scroll to the left and right.

Enjoy!

Download the Character Line Quantities sheet

 

Character Line Quantities for Playing With Play Books was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

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25 Facts about The Jungle Book

In order to celebrate the launch of my 13th book, Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book for Kids, I put together a little “Did you know?” page.  It’s different things we learned along the path of creating this melodramatic 15 minute play from the original works of Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Enjoy!

DID YOU KNOW?
Rudyard Kipling1) Disney’s cartoon version of The Jungle Book didn’t follow Rudyard Kipling’s actual story, it was “inspired” more than “based” on the book

2) The Jungle Book is a collection of 7 short stories and 7 songs

3) Kipling wrote a play version of the The Jungle Book that was never published or produced onstage

4) The monkeys in The Jungle Book are called the Bandar-log. In Hindi, “Bandar” means monkey, and “log” means people. That’s why they are known as the “monkey-people”!

5) Rudyard Kipling was born in India, where the stories of The Jungle Book take place

6) Akela means “lone” or “solitary” in Hindi

7) Cub Scouts adopted the character of Akela (the wolf) as their symbol of leadership

mowgli 8) The name Mowgli is a made up word that is supposed to mean “frog” in the stories

9) Mowgli is supposed to be pronounced “Mow-gli” with Mow rhyming with cow

10) Kipling’s father, John Lockwood Kipling, drew some of the illustrations used in the original magazine publications of The Jungle Book stories

11) Tabaqui, the jackal, is pronounced Tabarky and he made up this name himself

12) There is an actual Kipling Society where you can learn all about Rudyardshere khan

13) ‘Shere’ means “Tiger” in some Indian dialects. And Khan is a title; implying Chief of the Tigers

14) ‘Baloo’ is Hindi for “Bear”

15) ‘Bagheera’ is Hindi for, you guessed it, “Panther”

16) ‘Kaa’ is actually pronounced, “Kar”

17) Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is one of The Jungle Book stories

18) ‘Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’ is pronounced, “Rikky-tikki-tar-vi”

kaa19) ‘Nag’ the snake is pronounced, “Narg”

20) Rudyard Kipling wrote a sequel to The Jungle Book called, The Second Jungle Book

21) There is no King Louie in the original book

22) Rudyard is his middle name: Joseph Rudyard Kipling

23) Rudyard Kipling was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907

24) The founder of the Boy Scouts personally asked Kipling’s permission to use names and images from The Jungle Book

25) Kipling admitted stealing some of the stories of The Jungle Book from other authors.

25 Facts about The Jungle Book was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

Yorick the Break Dancer (Yo-Rick!)

In my most recent direction of my Hamlet for Kids there came the moment when the young actor comes on stage and says the line, “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him. When I was a kid, he was the jester, the funniest guy I knew.” And the play moves on… but, this one kid, as he was going through rehearsing in many different ways, stumbled on saying it as “Yo, Rick” and his first improv was around, “Who is this Rick guy?”  But, he settled for going with the break dancer avenue, as he put it, “the best breakdancer I ever knew…” Well, see for your self:

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Yorick the Break Dancer (Yo-Rick!) was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

Death Auditions – Give me your best Death!

I recently coached a parent who was running an after-school program, and she asked me how I do the “death auditions” for my plays.  It made me realize that I haven’t done a simple quick layout of my first day for a while, so, here it is: 1) I do a 5-8 minute, melodramatic solo performance…

Death Auditions – Give me your best Death! was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books