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Playing with Plays: Shakespeare Like You've Never Seen It Before!

Posted by Michelle Osborn on

Playing with Plays' version of Oliver Twist- A must for any homeschool Co-op!

Playing with Plays is one of the best ideas I have seen for introducing children and youth to Shakespeare and other well known playwrights. Most students are not interested in learning about Shakspeare, let alone reading one of his plays! This will change if you take part in Playing with Plays! 

Playing with Plays started with Brendan P. Kelso, known to many kids as Professor Peculiar.  Kelso came to writing modified Shakespeare scripts when he was taking time off from work to be at home with his son. “It just grew from there”.

These melodramatic plays are 15- 20 minutes long and each book includes scripts for three group sizes for 8-22+ actors. Although these are very short interpretations of the actual plays, there are actual lines from the scripts.

Our  homeschool co-op chose to do Oliver Twist rather than one of their Shakespeare plays. The rehearsals were very relaxed, filled with laughter and just plain fun. This made for a great atmosphere for children and moms of our co-op alike to get to know each other better. The cast line up of Oliver Twist made it quite easy to add "extras" such as orphans which allowed almost all ages of our co-op to participate.


(The actors loved the dying scenes)

I, along with the help of all the moms in our co-op, directed it. We rehearsed it 6 times and then performed it on our church stage. A few props and contemporary costumes, put together by the actors themselves, made the work quite easy. 


Everyone in the group had so much fun! Personalities came out like never before. It was a hit! Our homeschool group LOVED IT. We are looking forward to doing another Playing with Plays play this fall! thoughts on his participation.

 Thoughts from one or our actors and his participation.

        "Playing the characters Fagin and Mr. Bumble, I had a first-hand look at this condensed, yet accurate play.  Short as it was, this play included all of the important points that were included in the book.  (Although the book Oliver Twist is rather difficult and dry, this play proved to be exciting and fun for our homeschool group.)   Each character’s lines seem to be manageable to memorize (with Oliver obviously having the most).  During our performance, the audience had a great time catching the hilarious jokes evenly dispersed throughout this 15 to 20-minute play.  Overall, this is a fun, family-friendly play that our group enjoyed and that entertained the audience.

List of all Playing with Plays available at Yellow House Book Rental

~Michelle Osborn

Michelle is a homeschool mom of four, two married, college graduates, one beginning college this fall and one teen at home. She is the owner and founder of Yellow House Book Rental, a service to homeschool families.


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