for Book Clubs
The ShakeFest is a miniature Shakespeare festival for book
clubs or other groups to perform, intended to be the basis for a party and especially designed for adults or teens
who may know nothing about his work or even think they don't want to know.
NO memorization is required, but hamming it up and extreme creativity are encouraged! My friends have done Ophelia in drag, Hamlet and his mother with sock puppets, and Ariel's report to Prospero in PowerPoint; and my cat has played the role of Macbeth (see Kitty Karaoke Macbeth).
The Fest text includes some of the most famous passages from eleven plays,
together with brief introductions giving an idea of what’s
going on and pointers to “deeper” meanings. The text also includes pics from my own friends' performance/party in 2003 (and you can see visuals from subsequent Fests here: 2013, 2012, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2005, and 2004).
The first edition was performed in 1998; this version was revised in 2003. The ShakeFest text is in Adobe PDF format and contains 87 pages.
Did you know that just a few years before Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, Shakespeare's own, only son, named Hamnet, died? Or that Shakespeare fathered twins (twins being key in both The Comedy of Errors and Twelfth Night)? Could you use a little help sorting out the familial relations and alliances in the history plays?
The ShakeFest Biographical & Historical Supplement is especially written for novices as well as more advanced
readers of the plays, relatively short and easy while including more juicy details
than I’ve found in most sources aimed at beginners – this is the companion guide I wish I'd had
while first studying the plays. A handy chronology of when the plays were probably written and a brief bibliography are also included.
The Supplement contains 27 pages in an Adobe PDF document.