When you see a finished performance on stage, it sometimes seems incredibly complex: lights, sounds, scenery, elaborate costumes. But you can create an exciting and evocative performance for your students with ordinary items from around the house. If you want to be really fancy, you can buy a few items in specialty stores or construct them in art classes. As you direct more and more Shakespeare productions, you can develop a permanent “road box” - - a chest full items you may need in order to put on a performance any time, under almost any conditions.
Think symbolically. So you don’t have a trained dog to play Crab in Two Gentlemen of Verona? Get one of your most acrobatic students to don some puppy ears and play the animal. You want to have a dim night scene, but you can’t turn off the lights in your school cafeteria? Have students hold flashlights or unlit candles – the effect is the same. Students can also become almost anything or anyone on stage – not only Romeo or Lady Macbeth or Puck, but also the wind, the sea, jealousy, or even trees. (It’s also a great way to add more non-speaking parts to a scene.)
Theater is about illusion. It doesn’t have to be “real” to look good. Let your imagination go to work, and you will find that the creativity of your performers and your audience will take flight to join you.
The 20 items attached can be easily gathered. You probably have most of them in your house already.
One final note: don’t forget your road box itself. You can use it, too! A footlocker can become a table or a bench.