THROWBACK THURSDAY: REVIEWING A REISSUE
Reader’s Theatre is a bit of a lost art. From the late 1970’s through the mid-1980’s I participated in a number of reader’s Theatre programs – usually through church groups but also in my university theatre program. It’s quite likely that some of those scripts I performed in were written by Aaron Shepard.
This current collection of short reader’s theatre scripts is a revised reprint of a collection printed in 1993 and revised in 2005. They’ve been revised again for fit the e-device reader.
The scripts are geared for a young audience – late elementary school/early middle school, most likely and it is easy to see how these short plays, intended to be read aloud and not necessarily performed, might fit nicely into a school English or speech class.
Only one moment in a script struck me as not particularly ‘pc.’ In the final script, Westwoods, a Narrator (there are almost always more than one narrator per script) says: “The Princess was beautiful, thought John, only very, very fat. Her father was still fatter.” And just a few lines later King John recites a poem:
You’re fatter than butter, you’d melt by the fire.
You’re very much fatter than I could desire.
When I see you, my courage commences to ooze.
I’ve come to propose, but I hope you’ll refuse.
Funny, but every overweight child in the class will cringe and there will be snickering all around. I don’t see this particular script getting much attention in today’s educational system that is extremely sensitive to issues such as this.
The scripts included in this book are:
Millions of Cats – Wanda Gag
Harriet – Florence Parry Heide
The Legend of Lighting Larry – Aaron Shepard
Mr. Bim’s Bamboo – Carol Farly
Three Sideways Stores From Wayside School – Louis Sachar
The Jade Stone – Caryn Yacowitz
Talk – Harold Coudrlander
The Bean Boy – Monice Shannon
How Tom Beat Captain Najork – Russell Hoban
Tapiwa’s Uncle – Nancy Farmer
The Kid From the Commercial – Stephen Manes
The Fools of Chelm – Steve Sanfield
Mr. Twit’s Revenge – Roald Dahl
Mouse Woman and the Snails – Christie Harris
Westwoods – Eleanor Farjeon
All the scripts were adapted for reader’s theatre by Aaron Shepard and they do tend to sound the same when you read them straight through, as I did. My favorites were Millions of Cats, Three Sideways Stories from Wayside School, The Jade Stone, and The Bean Boy.
Looking for a good book? Reader’s Theatre is a great opportunity to involve a number of ‘performers’ without having to spend any rehearsal time and Aaron Shepard’s Stories on Stage is a collection of fifteen Reader’s Theatre scripts for young readers and is a wonderful introduction to the format.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Stories on Stage
author: Aaron Shepard
publisher: Shepard Publications
Kindle edition, 164 pages