If the Pandemic has given us theater teachers anything, it has given us the opportunity to have our students focus on fundamentals. So often in pre-"shelter-in-place" times, we were just so busy with all of the moving pieces of putting up a show. How we wished we had more time to do a deep dive into technique, theater history, and play analysis! Well that time is now: Enter, Distance Learning.
One of the fundamental building blocks of being a theater practitioner is knowing the work of William Shakespeare. Love him or hate him, you have to back up your opinions with experience. Now, how to get your students interested in diving into these dense texts?
Enter Jon Jory and his collection, SHAKESPEARE, CLEARLY. A prolific theater maker, Jory has given us a new device to engage our young students with the characters of Shakespeare and easily connect with them. He calls it ‘Plainspoken’ Shakespeare. Jory adapted the language to fit the modern reader, but these ‘plainspoken’ texts don't talk down to the reader. The language is still theatrical, poetic, and honors the original dialogue. The one-acts are trimmed with surgeon-like precision and get right to the heart of the tale. The full-lengths are energetic and are evidence of Jory’s intimate experience with each play.
With Shakespeare, Clearly, we hope young artists and students fall in love with the Bard's classic characters and ignite a desire to dive into the original text. Whether you decide to perform these adaptations or develop a Distance Learning curriculum around them, we know these adaptations will help both audiences and students connect to Shakespeare in a new and enjoyable way.
About the Author
As the Producing Director at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Jon Jory directed over 125 plays and produced over 1,000 during his 32-year tenure. He conceived the internationally lauded Humana Festival of New American Plays, the SHORTS Festival, and the Brown-Forman Classics-in-Context Festival. He was also the Artistic Founding Director of Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut, and he has been inducted in New York’s Theatre Hall of Fame. Mr. Jory has directed professionally in nine nations, and in the United States has directed productions at many regional theatres including Washington’s Arena Stage, San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre, Hartford Stage, the McCarter in Princeton, Guthrie Theatre, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He has received the National Theatre Conference Award and ATA Distinguished Career Award. For his commitment to new plays, he has received the Margo Jones Award twice, the Shubert Foundation’s James N. Vaughan Memorial Award for Exceptional Achievement and Contribution to the Development of Professional Theatre, Carnegie Mellon’s Commitment to Playwriting Award, and the Special Tony Award for Achievement in Regional Theatre. He currently teaches acting and directing at UCLA.