By: Cass Foster
Publisher: Five Star Publications
Publication Date: June 2000
Reviewed by: Pamela Victor
Review Date: December 2009
In The Sixty-Minute Shakespeare series, Professor Cass Foster carefully has abridged six of the most popular plays by the Bard to make them accessible for easy transference from page to stage. Although my review copy is of “Macbeth,” the other plays in the series include “Hamlet,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Twelfth Night,” and “Romeo and Juliet.” In each, Foster provides frequent definitions to the more arcane verbiage as well as good advice on scenery and pacing, recommended websites, and a long list of common Shakespearean themes.
Coincidentally, I currently am teaching a theater class in which we are delving into “Hamlet.” When this book came across my review pile, I jumped into it with anticipation. I was not disappointed. Reading through this text, I became eager to stage a production of “Macbeth” with my young friends. Foster abbreviates the overall play to enhance the dramatic tempo of student productions while preserving the beauty of Shakespeare’s prose. Cass has done all the heavy lifting with the text for me, and now all I have to add to the pot are eager young actors and a director’s ample share of blood, sweat and tears. For good measure, I think we’ll throw in a “fillet of a fenny snake, in the cauldron boil and bake.” What is sure to be produced will be a child’s lifelong, deep appreciation for the work of William Shakespeare.
Quill says: The Sixty-Minute Shakespeare series will have teachers and students clamoring for the stage.