Acting Production

Theatrefolk’s Top 10: Classical Adaptations

Classical Adaptations
Written by Lindsay Price

Time for a Tfolk Top Ten Plays About…

Classical Adaptations! Who’s looking for a little arts integration? How about some cross-curriculum? Or how about a great story turned into a great play. It’s time for ten classical adaptations.

Adaptations are my favourite type of play to write. It’s an intriguing challenge to take a story in one form and determine what will make it a theatrical experience.

Click the link and you’ll be taken to the webpage for each play. There you’ll get the details and read sample pages.

All the best with your search!


Shuddersome: Tales of Poe
Original: Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
Not only our most popular adaptations, but one of our most popular plays! Specters, ghosts and ghouls come alive in this vivid theatrical vision of Edgar Allan Poe’s best works including: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, and The Masque of the Red Death.

Hamlette/Mmmbeth
Original: Hamlet & Macbeth by William Shakespeare
The first of many of Shakespeare adaptations. We’ve paired Hamlette and Mmmbeth together because they make for a hilarious evening of theatre. Imagine if you will that “Hamlet” was not “Hamlet” at all, but “Hamlette” – a woman! Great for competitions.

AND in Mmmbeth everything goes wrong. The witches take over the storytelling, Queen Duncan would rather open a donut franchise than die, Lady M’s a bloodthirsty June Cleaver, and the murderers are preoccupied with creating a commercial for their services. Introduce your students to the world of the Bard with these parodies.

Will and Whimsy
Original: Sonnets by William Shakespeare
Shakespeare was meant to be performed, not read. This vignette play does that by bring his sonnets to life. Modern scenes play hand in hand with the original text. Mix and match the sonnets to your whimsy!

Lord of the Pies
Original: Lord of the Flies by William Golding
In this parody piece a pie shop erupts into panic after Franny, a brash cat-lady, announces the arrival of the apocalypse. SHe starts to reconstruct society and takes out anyone who stands in her way with baby food and scotch tape.

Drum Taps
Original: Drum Taps by Walt Whitman
The poems in Drum Taps represent Walt Whitman’s first hand account of the Civil War. See the words, the emotion, the blood come to life in this theatrical adaptation. This is not your typical poetry reading. This is war.

Alice/Through The Looking Glass
Original: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll
These two make excellent theatrical companion pieces. Both are one-act adaptations of the famous novels by Lewis Carroll. They follow Alice’s adventures down the rabbit hole and across the life-sized chess game. Fantastical physical journeys!

The Canterbury Tales
Original: The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Chaucer’s classic collection of tales comes to life! A group of travelers set out for Canterbury on a pilgrimage. Each and every performer gets a chance to shine in this spirited, charming script. Text uses modern English.

Pandora’s Fire
Original: Pandora’s Box, Ancient Greek Myth
Everybody knows the story of Pandora. Her curiosity got the better of her and she is to blame for releasing all the ills into the world. But is that the whole story? Pandora’s Fire is a wonderful mix of Ancient Greek choral storytelling with a modern twist.

Hamlet, Zombie Killer of Denmark
Original: Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Denmark is plagued with zombies led by Hamlet’s uncle/step-father, the current king. Will Hamet become a zombie himself? A gruesomely comic adaptation of the Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, this version blends original text with new, zombified dialogue – written in iambic pentameter!

The Tragicomedy of Julia Caesar
Original: Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
Sarah and Dave think it would be fun to direct a play for drama club. And they both love Julius Caesar. What could go wrong? Oh, a post-death dance number, Brutus is allergic to peanut butter, Rome is now Georgia, and giant killer robots. That’s all….


Planning on performing one of these or another Theatrefolk play? Let us know all about it with pictures and highlights – we might even feature you on our site! Click here to submit your story.

About the author

Lindsay Price