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Let’s Play

  • Here are some of the things that the Modern First Folio Edition, Version 5 (MFFEV5) let’s you do.

Using a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, or other Internet Browser, you can configure and read online versions of Shakespeare’s First Folio plays. This might be useful in a production, a play-reading, for study by a group of students, or for individuals to read a play on their own.

A group can read the play online on the Internet and interactively configure each play so that:

  • Each player’s part(s) are shown in one of three formats:
    • full script (the way a script is usually shown);
    • parts and cues (where specified part(s) only are shown, with the cues for each speech);
    • highlit text (where specified part(s) are shown highlit in various colours, and other parts are in standard black text on white).
  • Playreading castings are provided for each play for a range of players, usually between 6 to 16. Individual roles (e.g. Hamlet) can also be selected.
  • Smartphone, tablet, or laptop text size can be adjusted to suit the device you are using to read the play.
  • This is how “Let’s Play” helps

Getting a group together to read a play, and configure each player’s device for the reading, can take time and skill. So to help you get started, we’ve pre-configured extracts from the plays, for different numbers of players.

So far, we have five pages of extracts and plays which you can choose from. Click on a pic of an extract on one of those pages, and the configuration page for that extract / play opens. Each player selects a role to read by clicking on one of the available links, and the script for that part opens. Then the players can start reading. The scenes are in a combination of Highlit Text and Parts and Cues formats so you can try out both.

Here are some of the extracts and some of the plays available for reading. Over 2016 and 2017 we will be adding more plays and extracts. You can keep up-to-date with what’s available by ‘liking’ Players-Shakespeare.com’s Facebook page. The extracts and plays currently available are:

  • Extracts for 2 players:
    Romeo and Juliet in love (Highlit Text); Othello murders Desdemona; Hotspur teases Lady Percy; Henry IV tells off Prince Hal; Petrucio woos Kate the Shrew
  • Extracts for 3 players:
    Iago seeds jealousy in Othello (Parts and Cues); Romeo and Juliet in love (Parts and Cues); Romeo and Juliet in love (Highlit Text); Mad Lear meets Blind Gloucester; Caliban discovers new gods
  • Extracts for 4 players:
    Othello seeks Desdemona’s handkerchief (Parts and Cues); Hamlet and Ophelia fight; Friends fall out (The Tempest)
  • Extracts for more than 4 players:
    Feste is forgiven and Olivia falls in love (6 players); A production kick-off meeting (6 players); Lear clashes with his wary daughters and storms off (10 players).
  • Playreadings of complete plays (configured for 10 players):
    A Midsummer Night’s Dream (coming shortly); Hamlet (coming shortly); Henry IV Part I; King Lear; Othello; Romeo and Juliet; The Taming of the Shrew; The Tempest; Twelfth Night

A good starting point is Romeo and Juliet in love (Extracts for 3 players). You can play that in Parts and Cues format, or in Highlit Text format.

You can also access these different pages from the menu bar. There are links to each page inside the “Let’s Play” menu item. Hover over “Let’s Play” and you’ll see the links to each page.

Finally, at the bottom of each page of extracts, there are links to three of the other extract pages.

So you can start easily by getting together with a friend and reading extracts for 2 players; then expand a bit and try extracts for 3, 4, or more than 4 players; before trying out a play with 10 of you.

Players-Shakespeare.com plans to publish more plays and extracts throughout 2016 (and probably 2017) so you should have plenty of choice. And, of course, after you’ve run a few extract / play readings, you can try out configuring a play-reading for your own group, in your preferred format(s).

  • Other pages to help you.

If you’re excited by this, there are quite a few pages which offer more help on various aspects of using MFFEV5 and play-reading. Some of the more useful are outlined below:

    1. Why read Shakespeare’s plays in a group?
    2. Overview of MFFEV5 and the Cloud Reader
    3. How to use MFFEV5, using Othello as an example
    4. One way to prepare a character (Malvolio) for performance

Let’s Play!