Welcome to our Featured Play Spotlight. Shakespeare’s Bachelorette by Lea Marshall is the Shakespeare / Dating show mash-up you’ve been waiting for – complete with video/social distancing options.
Kate is looking for a date and her options are somewhat limited. Hamlet is pretty focused on his step-dad, Macbeth keeps trying to grab a dagger from above Kate’s head, and why does Iago keep giving her a handkerchief?
Oberon seems to think he’s going to win the show and it has nothing to do with that purple flower…
Why did we publish this play?
I love plays that show Shakespearean characters out of context but fully behaving as they would in their original story. So why not take a well known reality show and see if Oberon, Hamlet, Caesar, and Romeo make great dates? (Spoiler alert: they don’t). This play is full on fun and a great introduction to Shakespeare all at the same time.
1. Why did you write this play?
I had just finished watching the Bachelor, we were reading Shakespeare in all of my classes, and my Honors class wanted to perform an original fun Shakespeare piece for our upcoming Shakespeare-ience showcase. It seemed like a no brainer to put everything together in a crazy mash up.
2. Describe the theme in one or two sentences.
True love is never found on reality TV and the only thing stranger than reality TV “love story” is a Shakespeare love story.
3. What’s the most important visual for you in this play?
The over the top modern day feel of all these characters as reality TV characters. I can see them all in their dressed to impress best, each with a slight costume hat tip to their story: Romeo as a skater boy, Oberon with a floral shirt, Caesar with some red polka dotted shirt, Macbeth trying to look royal and yet innocent, Iago with a hundred pieces of cloth sticking out from every pocket…
4. If you could give one piece of advice for those producing the play, what would it be?
HAVE FUN! Know your character’s story and really imagine how they might act on the Bachelorette TV show.
5. Why is this play great for student performers?
Anyone can play anyone. Plus all those commercials are really fun for new performers. There are parts for first time performers and seasoned performers and everyone in between.
6. Do you have any tips for those who are performing this play online?
If you can find true love on the internet, you can do a play on the internet! This could definitely be done by Zoom. Or with small groups (pods) doing the commercials and filming those to show in between the episodes. There is only one scene with a larger group of characters onstage. So everything else could be very socially distanced blocked with small groups of students.
by Julie Hartley
Shakespeare is one of the greatest resources a drama teacher can have. But teaching it can be a challenge. Practical Approaches to Shakespeare in the Drama Classroom helps drama teachers break down the Bard to make his themes, language and characters accessible to all.