Pericles

Silly Shakespeare for Students

Fiction - Drama
83 Pages
Reviewed on 10/19/2020
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Author Biography

Paul Leonard Murray has worked as an actor and educator for over 30 years. He graduated in Theatre, gained an MA in Educational Theatre and a PhD in Applied Theatre. Originally from England but now living and working in Belgrade, Serbia, Paul is a passionate believer in the power of theatre to engage, educate and amuse children of all ages.

He is currently the director of Belgrade English Language Theatre which is a youth theatre for young people for whom English is not their native tongue. The plays in the Silly Shakespeare for Students series were developed with the help of his youth theatre members and can be read in class or performed. Inspired by the humour of the Goons, Monty Python and Commedia dell Arte (and of course the Bard himself) Paul hopes that these adaptations can help to inspire further appreciation of theatre, the English language, Shakespeare and silliness.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lois Henderson for Readers' Favorite

The action-driven play Pericles, the Prince of Tyre by William Shakespeare, as rendered in rhyming couplets of modern English by Paul Leonard Murray, director of the Belgrade English Language Theater, with input from his students, is just as exciting as the original, but it is also more accessible to EFL speakers, who might not otherwise enjoy the play as much. With all the skullduggery and the eponymous hero fleeing from an assassin hot on his trail, the work sounds more like the latest Frederick Forsyth thriller than it does a work first produced in Elizabethan times. As one in the series of books titled Silly Shakespeare for Students, Pericles, the Prince of Tyre is especially directed at making Shakespeare fun, not only for the actors in student dramatic productions but also even more notably for the audiences themselves who are likely to come from the wider student body, thus leading to the popularizing of the great bard’s texts.

Paul Leonard Murray definitely has as a primary focus of interest the staged presentation of Pericles, the Prince of Tyre rather than the printed text, which is so often the only resource that English language learners have to the work. The exuberance that he displays in making this modern-day adaptation come to life under his guidance is admirable. Prefacing the play itself with a succinct summary of the plot, directions as to playing style, and insightful illustrated input as to staging, from the start any producer and cast should feel at home with the play and feel competent regarding their ability to stage such a production. In short, it is a truly welcome addition to the pantheon of Shakespearean renditions.