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TOPIC: Offbeat scenes for high school students

Offbeat scenes for high school students 5 years 2 months ago #4146

  • carole
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Hello!
I have been asked to direct a ten minute scene of any Shakespeare I choose for a festival. I have one male student, and 3-4 females. This is going to be a big deal, so I want to choose the right scene and not one that someone else might choose.
Problem is, I don't know a lot about Shakespeare, just the basic well-known plays.
I am looking for suggestions from the "experts" here.
Thanks in advance!!
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Offbeat scenes for high school students 5 years 2 months ago #4151

Scenes with more women than men are fairly rare in Shakespeare, since there are seldom more than 4-5 women characters in any play. But I think I can steer you to some possibilities which are not likely to be performed too often.

There are a couple of scenes in LOVE'S LABOURS LOST that involve the Princess of France and her ladies-in-waiting (Rosalind, Katherine and Maria) and her steward, Boyet, that are witty and elegant. The first one is Act Two, Scene One (the first 88 lines, with perhaps more usable material toward the end of the scene), but the one I'd particularly recommend is Act Five, Scene Two, the first 157 lines, where they are preparing to receive a visit from the King and his courtiers. The success of the scene would depend on a strong sense of friendship and interdependence on the part of the women, grace in speaking the language, and a polished and diplomatic actor to play Boyet. If the male actor is more of a clown type, you might consider a couple of scenes from A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM: Act Three, scene One and Act Four, Scene One, in which Titania and her fairies encounter Bottom with the ass's head on. The two scenes could be played together with a fairly smooth transition from one to the other. The disadvantage here (if it is one for you) is that these scenes are not as balanced among the characters as the LLL scenes; Bottom and Titania have most of the lines. But if one of your actresses is significantly more polished than the others, it might be a good choice.

Another possibility would be the AS YOU LIKE IT scene with Rosalind, Celia, Phebe and Silvius, Act Three Scene Five (though Celia has almost no lines in this scene). Another that I would guarantee no one else would be doing is the confrontation in THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN between Theseus, Hippolyta, Emilia and the three queens, which could be pared to four women and would need some cutting in any case-- it runs over 200 lines (from l. 25 to 234). RICHARD III also contains a confrontation between Richard and the three noblewomen (Margaret, Elizabeth and his mother the Duchess), but it would also need a lot of cutting and might be a little heavy going for your students. My best recommendation would probably be to go with that second scene from LOVE'S LABOURS.

Good luck!!

Julian Lopez-Morillas
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Offbeat scenes for high school students 5 years 2 months ago #4156

  • carole
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Some great ideas there! Thanks so much...
I was wondering if there was anything at all from Merry Wives of Windsor too?
I can also have some girls play male roles as well...I am thinking one strong male and three females at this point.
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