Playing Shakespeare

To my 4yr old, Daddy being unemployed means Daddy is home to play with her more, especially when her older sister goes off to school in the morning. “You want to play the Shakespeare game?” she asks me.

“How do you play?” I ask.

“You find a doll to be the Prince, and then I find a doll to be Miranda, and we are on the island. Wait, I’ll get the book.” I’m not kidding. She runs into the family room and comes back holding my copy of Manga Shakespeare’s Tempest, which I did not even realize she knew I had.

So we begin acting out the story. I am using my Shakespeare action figure, although he is actually playing Ferdinand. Miranda is played by a blue Tinkerbell fairy. Ariel is a stuffed unicorn, and Caliban is the dog from the Simpsons that she got in a Burger King Happy Meal.

But soon I’m shaken from my private little world when the reality of playing with a 4yr old comes down around me.

“So Ferdinand is chained up by Prospero’s magic and forced to carry the firewood to prove his love for Miranda,” I read. I turn up little Shakespeare’s arms and make him carry a Lincoln Log.

“But then her mommy comes and breaks his chains and sets him free!” my daughter says, waving a stuffed ballerina doll.

“Wait, whose mommy?”

“Miranda’s mommy.”

“Miranda’s mommy is not in the story, sweetie.”

“She’s been in the garden out front. She breaks the chains and Ferdinand is free!”

Oh, of course that’s where she’s been. 🙂

4 thoughts on “Playing Shakespeare

  1. Before going to bed my children (at the time ages 5&7)loved to play the opening scene of Hamlet: "Peace, break thee off…." Each would take a turn playing the ghost (the fun part-wearing a sheet) so we would do it twice. They liked it better than any bedtime story.

  2. My oldest daughter went on a theater study abroad semester to London and came back with a set of Midsummer Night’s Dream finger puppets. Her younger siblings proceeded to appropriate them and act out many a crazy scene. They somewhat knew the story, but they added a lot of new plot twists, and I couldn’t ever convince them that Flute (Thisbe) was really a man.

  3. That’s really cute. I’m reading The Tempest right now for my Shakespeare class. Well, sort of. I lost my book. I’m mostly sparknoting it. Your girl knows more about it than I do 🙁


    All Shakespeare is in the public domain, Sierra. You can find the complete texts whenever you need them, if even just to refer to the original material.

    By the way, bunnycatch3r is my new hero. Never in a million years would I have thought to play out the beginning of Hamlet as a bedtime story!

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