Something Wicked this Way Comes

In honor of Halloween – certainly one of the most theatrical times of year! – Shakespeare For Our Children offers a glimpse of the Bard’s most chilling play: Macbeth. (Or, as it is known among more superstitious theatre folk, “that Scottish play.”)

There is no doubt that this violent work of obsessive ambition, murder, and fate reads as very mature for our young friends; but there is still some scope for age-appropriate spooky play-acting. With this in mind, we have edited here a scene between Macbeth and the Three Witches who foretell his fate.

Bringing together dialogue from Scenes 1 and 3 in Act I, this scene provides roles for four children. The rhythm of the words is bewitching indeed – and is emphasized by the eerie drumbeat in the middle of the scene. (We have had children clap in time offstage to create the effect of a drum!) The intertwining of the Three Witches’ lines also offers a great opportunity for children to develop the collaborative spirit of performance.

Happy Halloween from SFOC!

Hamlet and His Father: A Ghost Story

For performers, audiences, and scholars across the centuries, Hamlet endures as one of Shakespeare’s most compelling plays. It is a tale of madness, revenge, and corrupted family loyalties; yet it is also, in certain ways, a ghost story.

Just in time for Halloween, we at Shakespeare For Our Children have included here an edited version of the early scene between Hamlet and his father’s ghost. Here, Hamlet learns that his father has been murdered – a revelation that sets the tragedy in motion.

This is a scene of high drama – so when you stage this scene with the children, feel comfortable letting the words speak for themselves. For example, a plain black curtain as a backdrop sets the grim mood of the piece, as do block-color costumes for the children. (Perhaps black for Hamlet, grey or white for his father’s ghost.) Stay tuned for more Halloween-themed posts!

First Folio on Tour

For Shakespeare fans, there is no denying the benefits of living in a highly digitized-world. Library archives, filmed stage performances, scholarly works – not to mention this blog! – are all available online at the click of your mouse.

But sometimes, there’s nothing like the real thing. Case in point: the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC has begun a touring exhibition of Shakespeare’s First Folio. This revered text, published in 1623, was the first publication of 36 of Shakespeare’s plays – all of which were compiled by members of his theatrical company.

Visit the Folio at the University of Virginia this month, where it compliments their current exhibition ‘Shakespeare by the Book: Four Centuries of Printing, Editing and Publishing’. You can read about both  here or view a gallery of some of the beautiful items on show at the UVA Library gallery here.