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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences



Strategies for Playbuilding: Helping Groups Translate Issues into Theatre by Will Weigler (Heinemann) is a step‑by‑step manual for anyone who wants to help young people evaluate what they already know, learn more about the issues that affect them, and turn their perceptions into artistically engaging scripts, song lyrics, or choreography. It's not just a bonk about theatre techniques; it's about a way to use theatre to engage young people in community lit

Weigler walks the reader through a comprehensive script‑writing process specifically design( d to enable participants of different ages, abilities, and experiences to contribute equally. This process,, not only promotes ownership of a script that is the result of a cast's own work, it also produces high-quality work that will encourage an audience to give genuine consideration to the ideas presented.

Whether it leads to a polished performance or a simple sharing within a classroom or community, these techniques can be used to engage young people and give theta focus and a set of accomplishment.

For more than twenty years, Will Weigler has been actively involved in making theatre that promotes positive social change and individual creativity. He has worked with urban and rural theatre companies all over ‑

the United States and is a cofounder of Young Actors' Forum, which brings together diverse groups of children and teenagers to create and perform their own plays about issues that matter to them.

 Aspects of the Screenplay: Techniques of Screenwriting by Mark Axelrod (Heinemann) Storyline may sell the script, but dialogue and structure will carry it off. Aspects of the Screenplay deals extensively with film dialogue: how best to write it and still address issues of structure, plot, and character. It is one of the first books to focus on the craft of dialogue writing, offering invaluable advice that will encourage you to sit down and want to write.

Just as there is more than one way to write a script, there is more than one way to write a "how to write a script" book. Axelrod begins where every book on screenwriting should begin, with Aristotle's Poetics, and finishes where every book should end, with notes about the business. Throughout the text, he offers as examples some of the best‑known screenplays in recent years, including Rocky; The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover; Rain Man; Citizen Kane; The Big Chill; Ordinary People; Breaking Away; Four Weddings and a Funeral; Romancing the Stone; The Name of the Rose; The Fisher King; One Flew Over the Cuchoo's Nest; The Graduate; and Pulp Fiction.

Mark Axelrod is a professor of comparative literature at Chapman University and director of The John Fowles Center for Creative Writing. A two‑time recipient of a United Kingdom Leverhulme Fellowship for creative writing, he is a practicing screenwriter, whose work has been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; The Writers Guild of America, East; the Screenwriters Forum (University of Wisconsin); and the Sundance Institute

READERS THEATRE FOR AMERICAN HISTORY by Anthony D. Fredericks (Libraries Unlimited) Imagine sailing on a Viking ship, partaking in the jubilation of Leif Eriksson's crew as they first sight the New World. Now, imagine the excitement and enthusiasm of your students discovering how interesting and fun American history can be. By acting out these scripts, they will.

Using a "you are there" perspective by having students take on the personas of historical figures and fictional characters, these scripts help children grasp and appreciate selected historical events and important milestones in American history. Arranged chronologically in five sections: "The Land and Early People," "Beginnings of a New Nation," "The Nation Changes" (Nineteenth Century), "New Directions" (Twentieth Century), and "Recent History, Recent Changes," these 24 readers theatre scripts explore a diverse array of important events in the history of America.

• Watch your students participate in and bring to life Thomas Jefferson's drafting of the Declaration of Independence.
• Observe as your class takes part in the fictional McMillan family's struggles and triumphs on the Oregon Trail.
• Relive the shock and chaos of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

Each script will stimulate students' imaginations and promote all of the language arts. Participation allows the students to develop their own interpretations of history, as well as their creative and critical thinking skills. The introduction to the book provides educators with a rationale and guidelines for using readers theatre as an effective tool in the classroom. An appendix provides an extensive list of resources (books, Web sites, and organizations) that are helpful for further historical exploration and studies.

An excellent supplement to your American history lessons, this resource will become an invaluable part of the collection for upper elementary and middle school teachers as well as media specialists looking to support the history curriculum. Grades 4-8.


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