adaptations of Shakespeare

While teaching and directing at Highland High School in Salt Lake City, Newman adapted three of Shakespeare’s “Romance” plays for his students to perform.  He first adapted The Winter’s Tale for his annual Shakespeare production.  When he realized that he had enough strong freshmen that he could have cast the show with them, he created a shorter version of The Tempest for a mostly freshman cast and ran the two plays in repertory on the two-story, Elizabethan stage that they reconstructed each year.  The last production he directed at Highland High, was appropriately enough, his adaptation of All’s Well that Ends Well.  The first two adaptations are now published by Eldridge Plays and require a royalty.  The third, All’s Well that Ends Well, will be offered to schools royalty-free for the 2013-2014 season.

THE WINTER’S TALE

Perhaps the richest and most poetic of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays, The Winter’s Tale begins with a jealous king who is obsessed with the groundless suspicion that his virtuous wife and faithful best friend are having an affair.  None can convince the king of his erroneous judgment not prevent the tragic consequences of his mad jealousy.  His daughter Perdita, who the king believes is illegitimate, is condemned by the king and only allowed to live when a servant offers to leave her in the woods rather than slaying her.  After shaming the queen in a public trial and after denying the declaration of the Oracle of Delphi that the queen is chaste, the king loses everything he valued and loved.  His daughter is lost, his son has died, and his wife is believed to have died of grief.  Fast forward fourteen years when the king’s daughter, not knowing her identity, has falling in love with the son of the friend the king accused and banished.  The plays switches gears from tragedy to pastoral comedy and back again, until through the miraculous workings of wise and faithful counselors, all that the grieving king has lost is miraculously restored.  The adaptation runs about 90 minutes and can be cast with an ensemble of up to 26 with an even number of women and men.

THE TEMPEST

In Shakespeare’s last great play, the Duke of Milan, banished to a desert island with his daughter, commands his fairy servant to conjure a tempest to bring his usurping enemies to his shore and to exact his justice.  Through the course of the play, the Duke’s daughter Miranda falls in love with the son of the king who consented to the Duke’s banishment.  A trio of misfits (a drunken sea captain, a jester, and a monster) seek to destroy the Duke while the former conspirators plot against each other.  In the end, the Duke offers mercy rather than exacting justice and, like the Bard himself, renounces his magic island and retires to ordinary life.  The adaptation runs about 45 minutes and can be cast with an ensemble of eleven with more women than men.

Newman's adaptation of The Tempest was most recently produced at Twin Towers Middle School in New Paltz, New York, pictured here. It has also been produced at Trinity High School in North Carolina and Clearfield High School in Utah.

Newman’s adaptation of The Tempest was most recently produced at Twin Towers Middle School in New Paltz, New York, pictured here. It has also been produced at Trinity High School in North Carolina and Clearfield High School in Utah.

ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL

Helena, the daughter of a late physician, has been adopted by a Countess and has fallen in love with the Countess’s son Bertram.  When Helena uses her father’s remedy to heal the ailing King of France, the king offers Helena Bertram’s unwilling hand in marriage as a reward.  Bertram consents to be married but declares that Helena will never become his true wife until she is wearing his ring and bearing his child.  Helena embarks on a pilgrimage on the trail of St. Jacques, during which she manages to accomplish the impossible and win the love of her faithless husband.  The adaptation runs about 90 minutes and can be cast with an ensemble of eighteen with more women than men.

For scripts and royalties for the adaptations of The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest, contact Eldridge Plays at www.histage.com.

For scripts and royalties for the adaptation of All’s Well that Ends Well, contact Leicester Bay Theatricals by following this link:

http://www.leicesterbaytheatricals.com/alls-well-that-ends-well-shakespeareedited/

 

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