No doubt, like me, you are constantly on the look out for suitable texts for use as examination pieces for KeyStage4 and Advanced as well as suitable plays for public performances. I am happy to share a list of texts with a short note on suitability. Where possible, I have tried to provide enough information to allow you to track them down. I have also included a few plays and dramas that either I have written or have been co-produced with students which are available for purchase. The fee includes permission to perform and photocopy the script as many times as you like.
Plays Suitable For Public Performance.
The Mouse That Roared - a delightful story suitable for performance by K.S.3 and you can use all your old Shakespeare costumes.
Hay Fever - a very witty Noel Coward play that is very popular with audiences and ideal for a talented A' Level group.
Stags And Hens - quite a lot of swearing but an excellent story which teenagers really identify with. You just have to work out how you're going to build the nightclub lavatories setting.
Animal Farm - a great opportunity to make hundreds of masks and throw a lot of straw about. It has music in it but can be done without and has a potentially large cast.
A Christmas Carol - there are various versions, some quite short. When you do it, make it an excellent version because after that there are no decent Christmas plays.
Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Towns Womans Guild Dramatic Society Production Of "Macbeth" - the very best of the amateur spoof genre and the only play that has made me laugh out loud whilst reading it. Very demanding but an absolute must. Look at any of the others in the series as well.
Faust And Furious - a modern version of the Faust legend with a female devil,no longer in print but part of the "Act Now", series if you can track it down. Wide range of female roles and a large cast. Again, optional music involvement.
Gregory's Girl - difficult to stage well but worth trying and has a popular subject matter.
Taming Of The Shrew - I would never attempt a full Shakespeare, I don't think students can sustain the depth of vocal skill required but shortened versions are fun. This play lends itself to being cut down. If you want details then see the list of resources for sale.
A Midsummer Night's Dream - all that I've said about the previous entry also applies to this play.
Alice In Wonderland - music optional, a wide range of roles and a traditional favourite with audiences, especially your feeder Primary schools.
The Crucible - very challenging but can be done simply which lends it real dramatic power and you can beef up the overall quality with judicious use of sixth form students.
Black Comedy - suitable for small sixth form groups, very demanding comedy timing wise but very funny.
Everyone Has Their Price - a modern adaptation of "Volpone" by Ben Jonson written by me for a group of sixth formers. For further information see photographs of the production at Images Of Productions. Order from Sales.
Trust Me Tobias - based on the story of Tobit from the Apochrypha, this is suitable for a large Lower School cast as it has a chorus that is heavily involved all the way through with key roles that can be played by older students. Light hearted , narrative theatre style with some clever staging possibilities. Order from Sales.
Texts Suitable For Examination.
It is an absolute nightmare to find extracts of scripts or short plays that are suitable for examination. Many short plays are odd and may hinder candidates performance because of poor writing. I tend to insist that my G.C.S.E. students work in pairs or threes as it tends to be easier to find a short extract that is suitable . Exam boards state that they are expecting about five minutes per candidate to be able to assess them properly. I would like to be able to build a resource section here in which we can offer short extracts that are suitable, sorted according to Male/Female parts. E-mail me with suggestions.
Absurd, Black And Comic Sketches - a range of monologues and duologues that all have a black comic feel. Just the right length with the necessary challenge to allow good grades.
A Taste Of Honey - provides some useful extracts, either F/F from the beginning or M/F/F from where Jo finds out that Helen is getting married.
Hindle Wakes - set at the turn of the century , a great opening sequence which is potentially challenging for M/F/F.
Can't Pay Won't Pay by Dario Fo - a fast paced comedy which is fun for the students to do. Can provide either F/F at the beginning or M/M later on.
The Virtuous Burglar by Fo - an excellent play that again is fast paced satire and can provide either M/F at the beginning or a group of MM/FF if you wish.
Teechurs by John Godber - challenging piece which is complicated to block but really allows excellent performances. Suitable for M/FF.
Bouncers by John Godber - again a demanding piece as they have to play lots of roles but ideal for high grades. M/M/M
Shakers by John Godber - the female version of Bouncers, suitable for F/F/F.
In Need Of Care - a short play about two girls who are running away from home in the 60's. Use the beginning for F/F.
Macbeth - the scene where Lady Macbeth persuades her husband to do the deed. M/F.
The Merchant Of Venice - the scene in which Portia and Nerissa discuss the suitors. F/F.
Stags And Hens by Willy Russell - not just the two groups of lads and girls but the scenes between Linda and Peter for M/F.
Blood Brothers by Willy Russell - the scenes featuring Mickey and Eddie as kids up to when they are teenagers.
Educating Rita by Willy Russell - an obvious one as long as they can handle the accents.
Bathers - a short play about three girls and one of them cheats and tries to implicate the others. Set in America, it can easily be anglicised. F/F/F.
Hay Fever by Noel Coward - the opening section provides a good script for M/F/F if you can get someone to walk on as Clara the maid.
Free The Prisoners - a devised piece by my A level students which seekes to persuade the audience to join Amnesty International's letter writing campaign to free prisoners. Accompanying notes can be used to discuss how to structure a devised performance in order to effectively communicate with the audience through use of style and form.
Blood On The Lens. - a devised piece with accompanying notes which looks at how shows like Tessa, Jerry Springfield and Rikki Lake use their guests to provide power and success for the hosts. It's a fast paced satirical comedy with a clever twist.
If anyone has some suggestions for suitable texts for A level that have an equal share of roles for one male and either three, four ,five or six females, then please let me know as this is what I am looking for at the moment.
Adaptable Stage Costume For Women. - ISDN : 0 85343 558 8 - an excellent book which shows you how to sew a basic dress that can be adapted to suit any period from 1400 to 1890. If you are interested but lack the confidence to make it yourself, I have created a sample pattern and instructions which can be given to someone who has some basic sewing skill. Purchase a pack from Sales.
Plaster is too heavy, papier mache is too messy but there is a way of using brown paper parcel tape to create a lightweight and durable mask which fits the actor well. For a pack of instructions see Sales.
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