These scripts take the famous plays of Shakespeare and just get to the point, reducing them to under 15 minutes. You know: all the characters and quotes you love, without the boring bits, like internal conflict, character development, or plot. Think of it as “Shakespeare Lite.” These are stand-alone scripts without the evening’s outline. (Hamlet & Macbeth, however, does have an outline for the evening.) You can choose one or several to be performed by your court actors.
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA
Cast size: 4 Male, 2 Female
Antony is a brilliant military strategist, until he meets Cleopatra. Then he has all the martial cunning of a March hare. Can he get his head in the game for the final battle with Octavian, or will Cleopatra prove to be too much of a distraction?
Cast size: 2 Male, 3 M/F, Extras
In our Hamlet, there is a lot less introspection and a lot more mayhem. Two characters even get killed twice. But don’t worry, the violence is very stylized. That’s another way of saying that it’s really fake, since most directors don’t have much of a special effects budget.
Cast size: 2 Female, 3 M/F, 4-8 Extras
It’s all the mayhem of Hamlet, only the Queen has been murdered, and her daughter, Hamlette, must avenge her death. A popular Shakespeare play with a woman’s touch.
HAMLET & MACBETH
Cast size: 5-7 Males, 4 Females, 4-5 M/F, Courtiers, 4 Extras
In this, we’ve combined two in one. The Town Crier is scrambling for entertainment for the Court, so Jester uses short versions of Hamlet and Macbeth, which were written by the Town Crier. Except the Town Crier doesn’t recognize these versions. At all.
Cast size: 4 Male, 2 Female, 1 M/F
Brutus and Cassius plot to kill Caesar. Caesar never catches on, even though the Seer warned him, his wife warned him, and everyone in the Senate is armed to the teeth. Makes you wonder how this guy conquered most of Europe.
Cast size: 4 Male, 3 Female, 1 M/F
Macbeth is Thane of Scotland, his wife is inthane, and the witch suffers from multiple personality syndrome. Duncan gets poisoned with hemlock, gets trampled by a horse, chokes on a tic-tac, gets stabbed fifty-three times, gets bludgeoned by a rubber chicken, gets dragged by a horse–and still he keeps coming back for more.
THE MANNING OF THE DUDE
Cast size: 2 Male, 3 Female, Extras M/F
A twist on Taming of the Shrew. In this tale, Petruchio is stuck in arrested development; Kate is interested in fixer-uppers and is probably the only one up for the task.
MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
Cast size: 4 Male, 3 Female, 4 M/F
Puck the fairy orchestrates a lot less mayhem in this play, as he only has a few minutes to do so. And there’s a short play within this short play! Two plays in 12 minutes!
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
Cast size: 4 Male, 2 Female, & 1 M/F
The villain, Don John, manipulates the budding love between Hero and Claudio. Hero and Claudio manipulate the secret love between Benedick and Beatrice. It has all the drama of a high school hallway.
ROMEO AND JULIET
Cast size: 4 Male, 3 Female, 2 M/F
Romeo is a Republican. Juliet is a Democrat. You just know this isn’t going to end well.
Cast size: 4 Male, 2 Female, 2 M/F
Passengers crash land on an island, and they run into mysterious “Others” who prevent them from leaving the island. Nope, this isn’t LOST; it’s a Shakespearean play!
The Fool Hardies
These scripts are 25-30 minutes and go along with the courses for the evening. If you are short on actors or don’t want a long play, these can work well:
Out-of-work political consultants, the Fool Hardies try to find their place in the Royal Court.
Seeing an ad for secret service detail, the Fool Hardies apply to protect the King.
The Jester quits his job, and the Fool Hardies compete against each other for the position.