We run play-readings here in Edinburgh from September through May. We’re hoping that this year (2017 – 2018) other groups around the world will join us in play-reading some of Shakespeare’s plays.
It’s now the beginning of August, so we’re running a countdown of the things you need to do to be ready to play-read a Shakespeare play in September.
Today it’s T-10 and it’s time to select the play you’re going to read, and the people you’re going to invite to the play-reading:
Select the play you’re going to play-read:
To be able to use our play-reading cast lists, you need to use a play published on Players-Shakespeare.com. We’re going to be reading Macbeth in September, but you can choose another play we’ve published. We recommend one of the following plays as they’re set-up to be easy to play-read. You can click on any of these play titles to get to the text of the play in a new tab. So, in alpahbetical sequence, they are:
- A Mdisummer Night’s Dream
- All’s Well That Ends Werll
- The Merchant of Venice
- The Merry Wives of Windsor
- Romeo and Juliet
- Twelfth Night
So there’s already a fair amount of choice, and we will be adding approximately one play a month to this list.
Invite the people to come to the play-reading:
The first question you’re probably going to think about is ‘How many people should I invite to the play-reading?’.
You can start with between 2 and 12 play-readers. With 2 – 6 play-readers, you’re probably going to have to read the play ’round-robin’, which means that each person reads a speech and then the next person reads a speech and so on. This means the play gets read, but no one plays a particular character.
If you want each player to have particular characters to play, you usually need between 6 and 12 players. The cast lists available are shown on the index to the play. The index is to the right of the script on laptops and some tablets, and after the script on smartphones and some tablets.
Practically, we have found that play-readings work best with around 8 to 10 players. That way everyone gets a principal part to play, and don’t have to sepak to themselves as different characters very often. So a good rule of thumb, is to invite 10 people to the play-reading, and if one or two can’t make it on the day, you’ve still got a good number to play-read the play.
If you want to get a more detailed understanding of the play you’ve chosen to read, then look at the individual cast lists for that play. If you click on a cast list in the index, a page will open up, replacing the script, showing the cast list, and which player plays which characters. It will also show which players have to talk to themselves in different roles. By looking at all the cast lists you can decide what you think is the optimum number of players to read the play. Don’t forget that on the day one or two people may drop out due to unforeseen circumstances.
You may also want to take into consideration the monologues we’ve set up in “Let’s Explore”, and the scenes we’ve put up to read in “Let’s Play”. You’ll find these in the index to the play(s).
What sort of people should you invite to the play-reading. There are two key attributes:
- They should be interested in Shakespeare’s plays and able to speak out loud with confidence.
- They should be comfortable using a laptop / tablet / smartphone browser, and have one they can bring to the play-reading (unless you’re supplying the technology).
So that’s your tasks at T-10: Select a play and invite the readers.
If you want to get a better idea about play-reading using Players-Shakespeare.com, we recommend the following posts:
- How we help you play-read Shakespeare
- Get started play-reading with Macbeth
- The innovative tools we offer to explore a Shakespeare play
If you’re really interested in organising a play-reading group using our Shakespeare plays, ask to join our Support for Playreading FB group
But now it really is time to get started with your first play-reading!
If you want to know how our Shakespeare edition is developing, ‘like’ our Facebook page, and you’ll get more detailed updates on Facebook on what’s happening.