Staging the school play
Having chosen The Two Gentlemen of Verona for our Years 9 and 10 summer term show, we felt a lively approach was likely to engage the minds of our 14- and 15-year-old actors. The play deals extensively with the pastoral, a slightly dry and largely unfamiliar genre to the young cast, so we decided to set it in the wild west which gave us several appropriate parallels and sounded fun.
I had the authority of Sir Trevor Nunn, no less, who has said that the American accent is probably nearer to Shakespeare’s original pronunciation, so I felt no qualms in asking the cast to use their best Texan twangs. Encouraged by the fact that few of my audience would know the piece well, I set about converting it to a 90-minute script, changed every ‘thou’ and ‘thine’ to ‘you’ and ‘your’, and even added a few ‘y’all’s for good measure! On the technical side, there were four main areas to consider: set, lighting, costumes and props, and music.