Sunday, March 26, 2017

March 27 - World Theatre Day



Tommy is so excited. His first-grade class is putting on a play about Peter Rabbit, and he’s sure to get the starring role. But in his enthusiasm, Tommy talks too much in class, so his teacher decides that he should play Mopsy instead—and Mopsy doesn’t have any lines! Tommy is disappointed until he gets an idea. If he can’t be the star, he can still get the audience’s attention by reacting to everything Peter Rabbit does. But how will Tommy’s mother and teacher react to his performance?

Well, someone DID say that "acting is reacting". Gentle lessons in classic DePaola style.


Rifka's parents are actors in the Yiddish Theater in New York, but one day Rifka finds herself center stage in a special role! A slice of immigrant life on New York's Second Avenue, this is a unique book about a vanished time and a place - the Yiddish theater in the early 20th century made real through the telling of the true life story of the 96-year-old author as a little girl.

Kids may find the idea of this very different way of life fascinating - sort of a variation on all the books about circus families.


When Jane Sutcliffe sets out to write a book about William Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre, in her own words, she runs into a problem: Will's words keep popping up all over the place! What's an author to do? After all, Will is responsible for such familiar phrases as "what's done is done" and "too much of a good thing." He even helped turn "household words" into household words. 
But, Jane embraces her dilemma, writing about Shakespeare, his plays, and his famous phrases with glee. After all, what better words are there to use to write about the greatest writer in the English language than his very own?  As readers will discover, "the long and the short of it" is this: Will changed the English language forever.

This book is fairly new, and I was fascinated by how many phrases I had no idea were Shakespearean. 


Have you ever seen the play version of a book you have read? If not, how about a movie? Stage a debate among family members: what was the best book to play or book to movie adaptation ever? make sure you give at least three supporting facts for your argument!

My top three:

Swoon! The giant was. just. amazing.

Absolutely perfect casting.

Bonus, it is also the most quotable movie of all times!

Now, it's your turn! Choose a favorite picture book, and practice acting it out - either by playing the characters, or with puppets or dolls.


You'll need costumes for your play, and a set! 

If you are using human actors, think of things like old bed sheets or large cardboard boxes for a set background. Make costumes by repurposing things you find around the house, or hit the thrift store.

For puppets or dolls, try your hand at sewing simple outfits from scraps. Skip to My Lou has a super simple doll dress pattern designed for American Girl dolls, but easy to adapt. Shorten it to a shirt size and make drawstring pants for boy characters!

Language Arts

Some of Shakespeare's words are now commonplace - but, others are a bit confusing to 21st century readers! Do you know what any of these words or phrases mean?


(for older kids, do a search for "Shakespearean insults"!)


Of course, the best way to celebrate today is to go to a live theatre performance - or at least make plans to see one. If that is not a possibility, however, you can at least watch one on video. Might I suggest:

You may find yourself heading back to the library afterward, to re-read the old traditional fairy tales!

Other Web Sites to Explore

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