Thursday, September 8, 2011

Review/Giveaway: Sixty-Minute Shakespeare

Title: Sixty-Minute Shakespeare:  Much Ado About Nothing
Author: Cass Foster
Genre: Young Adults, Children’s, Literature, Classics
How to enter: Leave a comment on THIS post right here! If you're a subscriber or a follower, leave a second comment for a second entry.
Entry deadline: September 19, 2011
Restrictions: US only.
Publisher: Five Star Publications
Physical Description: 256-page paperback
List Price: Entire Series:  $45.89; individually:  $8.99
ISBN: 978-1-877749-42-1
For More Info:

The Sixty-Minute Shakespeare series is an ideal alternative for those who lack the time to tackle the unabridged versions of the world's most widely read playwright. Professor Cass Foster has judiciously condensed (without modernizing) the Bard's richly poetic language. He has skillfully retained the integrity of the text, allowing students to experience the thrill of the stories as well as the captivating imagery in the prose and verse.

In addition, the author has provided helpful footnotes on nearly every page explaining the more arcane words and phrases to help the reader better understand and appreciate each play.

You will find the practical suggestions clearly laid out for staging, pacing, and thematic exploration very useful. Scenes flow smoothly from one to the next, maintaining a continuity difficult to find in other condensed versions of the Bard's works. Each script is approximately 70 pages.
About the Author:
Cass Foster, Professor Emeritus of Theatre, has been actively involved in the theatre as an educator, director, fight choreographer and playwright. His teaching experience includes The Ohio State University, Capital University, Otterbein College, Central Arizona College and Mesa Community College. He has directed productions or choreographed fights at Players Theatre Columbus, University of Illinois: Champaign-Urbana, Phoenix Theatre, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, Grand Canyon Shakespeare Festival, Case Western Reserve University, Arizona Jewish Theatre, Sedona Repertory Company, Lyric Opera, Phoenix Little Theatre, Sombrero Playhouse, The Ohio State University and the Great American People Show.
What I Liked:

When I was in high school, we “sampled” Shakespeare.  I remember reading a snippet of Macbeth and maybe a summary of it, but that was it.  To be honest, I wasn’t terribly fond of the bard, although I do appreciate some of his better-known quotes – I still have the first 5 lines of “To be, or not to be” memorized.

With this series, I’m able to get a complete, albeit fast, meal – so I got a nice taste of the comedy side of Shakespeare’s writing in Much Ado About Nothing.  The scenes flow together well; it doesn’t feel like chunks are missing.  And it is most definitely still in beautiful Shakespearean English.  Footnotes help the reader understand certain words and phrases.

I think this series would be interesting to work through as a high school co-op group, with multiple people participating to read the different parts.

What 4yo Esmé Liked:

Um (clear throat) – she actually wasn’t too impressed, though I acted a few chapters out in great drama and flair (and with much redacting).  She wanted to get on with a kitty-themed play already.  I asked if she understood what I was reading, vocabulary-wise and otherwise, and she assured me she had total comprehension.  So we had a little discussion on the meaning of “I love you with with so much of my heart that none is left to protest,” and then Daddy interrupted with the observation that it didn’t really make much sense.  Definitely not preschool or Daddy material here… :)

What I Didn't Like: 

I’ve got nothing negative to say about the abridgment of the book – that is very well done.  However, I’m not a big fan of some of Shakespeare’s darker themes and the “double, double toil and trouble” stuff.  I’m still undecided on whether the his literary genius outweighs the death speak and irreverent humor of some of his characters, which you find even in comedies such as this one. 

Thanks to Five Star Publications for the review and giveaway copies of this book, and to MamaBuzz Media for coordinating the review.  We are not being paid for this review, and all opinions are our own.

Remember to leave a comment to enter the giveaway for Sixty-Minute Shakespeare:  Much Ado About Nothing!


Laura said...

I'd love to read this book with my children. Thank you for your review.

Laura said...

I'd love to read this book with my children. Thank you for your review.

Robert Pyszk said...

Very nice contest and very simple method of entry! Thank you for a chance to win.

Michelle Smith said...

Thanks for your review and the opportunity to win this giveaway.

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Pat said...

Thanks for the honest review of the book.
pkildow at gmail dot com

apple blossom said...

please include me in this giveaway thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

apple blossom said...

email subscriber and gfc follower

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Patricia said...

Fascinating -- I'd never heard of this series before. I'd love to win and try it out.

patricia dot mariani dot esq at gmail dot com

vmkids said...

my daughter would love this for christmas

kamewh said...

I would love to share this with my children! It sounds wonderful!

kerin0874 (at) yahoo (dot) com

kamewh said...

Follow on GFC

mail4rosey said...

Ahhh, I love it. This would be great for the kids!

AEKZ2 said...

Thanks for the chance to win this!