Family Reunion Readers Theater

Readers Theater is always a fun time, and even more so with my melodramatic stories which are short and funny. But, they are even funnier with a family reunion. As we all know who the hams are in our families, don’t we?

This past holiday season, when our family came together for Thanksgiving as well as Christmas, we did a readers theater three different times (it’s officially a family tradition now!)  What a BLAST! My son made sure he was the director, and he gave out 3-4 books that we all shared. Then he made impromptu costumes that we all put on and read our parts (or multiple parts in some cases). I never thought about using my books for a large team building get-together. However, doing readers theater at a family reunion is fantastic for building new and cherished memories.family reunion

What a wonderful way to hang out and make great new memories with the family!  We performed Jungle Book for Kids two different times at Thanksgiving, and then did Treasure Island for Kids at Christmas (one would think we would do A Christmas Carol for Kids, but nooooo). This was great for all our ages, from 6 to 96!

Next year we have already planned to do Macbeth (the nieces want to be witches!) and Julius Caesar (can’t wait to kill of Uncle Louie!) What fun to do a family readers theater during our family reunion.

Another rendition a friend of mine is doing at their family reunion, since they have over 50 family members, is a family competition. They are going to break them up into random teams, and then all perform.  Best performance gets to eat first! When m
y plays are only 15 minutes, it’ goes by quick and with much laughter!

I hope you enjoy the same!

Family Reunion Readers Theater was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

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Shakespearean Tragedy Bingo

Shakespearean Tragedy Bingo CardOk, let’s start with, I didn’t make this… but, it’s pretty darn cool! (credit to Mya Gosling) Shakespearean Tragedy Bingo.  My first thought was, it’s going to be a pretty long game.  But, my second thought was to actually make this into a game.  Have all the different scenes that relate to the squares put in the “Shakespearean Tragedy Bingo” bag.  Pull out the scene and play, review it slightly for a quick learning lesson, and have the kids mark their cards!

If I was a highschool teacher, I would use the Shakespearean Tragedy Bingo as a tool to show kids how there is so much cool stuff to Shakespeare’s plays.  How life today, in some parts, is no different than 400 years ago.

When trying to engage kids with Shakespeare, I find the tragedies are the most engaging!  Have fun with this one teachers!

-Brendan

Shakespearean Tragedy Bingo was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

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

The Merchant IN Venice!

That’s right, I said “IN”, the Merchant IN Venice! Read below from one of our guest bloggers about a rare opportunity…

Venetian ghetto 500 years ago

Venetian ghetto 500 years ago

I have always wondered how it would be to see Shakespeare’s characters in the places which the Bard himself thought for them, how it would be to see Lorenzo wooing Jessica outside a Venetian palace or Shylock claiming the “pound of flesh” that Antonio owed him. Now you have the opportunity to walk through the streets (or “calli” in the Venetian dialect) which have inspired Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice.

In the summer of 2016, the Colombari Company and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice will be part of an initiative called “Shylock Project” that aims at bringing the characters of The Merchant of Venice for the first time on a special stage, the Venetian Ghetto, the Jewish quarter in Venice. The Ghetto was the place where Jews were forced to live by the Venetian Republic and 2016 marks the quincentennial of its establishment. (That’s 500 years!) The Ghetto is also the place where we will perform The Merchant of Venice!

Furthermore, many brilliant scholars will be discussing the play in several meetings and seminars! Do not miss the chance to be part of this unique event, visit our website to have more information: www.themerchantinvenice.org

Federico Baldan

The Merchant IN Venice! was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

Classroom Insult-a-thon

Classroom Insult-a-thon (Don’t forget, April 23rd is National Insult Like Shakespeare Day!) It’s simple and fun and works like this: Everyone writes up 3-4 different insults using the Shakespeare Insult Generator They spend about 5-10 minutes practicing their insults, working on generating the appropriate delivery with angst! Split the class into 2 groups that line…

Classroom Insult-a-thon was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books