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Cheers to the Classics: The Canterbury Tales

Cheers to the classics! In the brilliant full-length adaptation, The Canterbury Tales by Lindsay Price, Chaucer’s classic collection of tales come to life.

A group of travelers set out for Canterbury on a pilgrimage. To pass the time they entertain each other with a storytelling contest. Best story wins a prize.

Each and every performer gets a chance to shine in this spirited, charming script. With a script that uses modern English text, this play offers great characters, lots of humour, and strong ensemble work.

Under the guidance and direction of Drama Teacher (and Theatrefolk playwright!), Michael Calderone, the talented student group at Hopkins School in New Haven, Connecticut  successfully brought this cross-curricular classical adaptation to life. From directors to cast members to the stage manager, there was a definite cohesive community feel to this production.

Lindsay Price’s The Canterbury Tales was just the right script for our winter slot, traditionally our one-act production. The one-acts allows for us to rehearse small, complete scenes independently of each other and then bring them together for the production weekend. The difficulty was finding a script, author or theme that could tie the desperate acts together and not have the appearance of completely random scenes. The Chair of our English Department suggested we look at Canterbury Tales which would tie in nicely with the 10th grade English curriculum. After searching the internet for various versions I came across Lindsay’s which, luckily for us, was neither too simple or sophomoric, nor was it too lofty as the Royal Shakespeare version. It was the perfect length, struck the right tone, and satisfied everything needed for our one-acts slot.

I was able to cast the individual stories considering everyone’s schedules and abilities, from those who hadn’t had stage time in the past to those who had a few shows under their belts. Lindsay reduced the number of “pilgrims” from the original Chaucer into a manageable ensemble who be came both storytellers and a neat tie-in to the production as a whole. These roles in my production went to our stalwart drama kids who had the time and the experience to carry the important role of holding the show together.

The biggest question from the English Department was if the Miller’s Tale was included in the play; and to their joy and fear I told them that it was. But, don’t fear, Lindsay’s version is tame enough for the youngest of audience members yet suggestive enough to give those in the know a good laugh.

Long story, short: Lindsay’s script ticked off many boxes for our school production. The English Department felt validated, the audience enjoyed themselves and, most importantly, the students had a great time!

If pictures say a thousand words, then these photos definitely say it all! Thanks so much to Michael Calderone and Hopkins School for sharing their incredible production with us!

*Photo credit: Peter Mahakian

Get a copy of the play The Canterbury Tales now.

If you would like to be considered for an upcoming production feature, click here to submit your Theatrefolk play story.

Not right for your group right now? Search our play catalogue to find one that your performers will love!

Products referenced in this post: The Canterbury Tales and Shakespeare on a Shoestring - Cymbeline!

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