Treasure Island: Rum or Gum?

I recently had the privilege to watch a video of a school group in New Jersey perform my Treasure Island for Kids, and of course, it was AWESOME! That being said, one thing I kept noticing…. they were saying “Rum” incorrectly… but wait! No, they weren’t, they were saying “Gum”!

When re-writing classics tales like I do, I do my best to stick to the original plotline as much as possible.  However, there are several times where that’s not possible. Sometimes with the length of the story or around specific content covered in the stories.  And Treasure Island is no different, because, when it comes to pirates, they drink rum! And there are no mixing words when Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Treasure Island, those pirates drank their rum!

I specifically remember wavering around this point when writing, if I should talk about rum or not. In the end, I stayed to the storyline and hoped that schools and directors would make modifications as they felt necessary.  Well, good for this school… as those pirates were constantly searching for their GUM!

So, if you are performing Treasure Island, and don’t feel comfortable using the word rum, you are MORE THAN WELCOME to substitute GUM in there!

Until next time, have fun on the stage!

Treasure Island: Rum or Gum? was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

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Why Drama is so Important in Schools

Over the next several weeks and months I’ll be writing a 12-part series about why drama is so important in schools.  I’ll be covering several different aspects of the benefits of why we do drama, what it gives our kids that very few extra-curricular activities can give, as well as ideas and suggestions on to how to make theater…

Why Drama is so Important in Schools was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

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

Crystal Ball for Caesar – Magic 8-ball!

Soothsayer's magic 8-ball

Soothsayer and Caesar

So, I always have fun and do my best to work the laughs for the audience in my melodramatic Shakespeare for Kids plays.  That’s certainly true with my performance of Julius Caesar for Kids! I used one specific prop to get some laughs. The Magic 8 Ball! (find it here on Amazon) That’s right, the soothsayer came out to warn Caesar about the “Ides of March” and then pulled out the Magic 8-ball to prove it so! The audience loved it, and, more importantly, the kids loved using it! Fun for all!

Enjoy!magic 8-ball

Crystal Ball for Caesar – Magic 8-ball! 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:

YouTube Preview Image

 

 

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