Lazy Bee Scripts

Bill Tordoff
Bill Tordoff trying to look like a Yorkshireman
Working in the Following Genres:
Plays With (Optional) Music
Stage Shows for Schools and Youth Theatre
One-Act Plays

Over a period of three years, Bill Tordoff has abridged all of Shakespeare’s plays into versions that could be staged in thirty to fifty minutes.
The project started when Bill, a writer and retired English teacher, was asked to write a short version of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ for a group of Singapore students. His approach was to keep the original language, plot and characters, but to reduce the play to a run time of around thirty-minutes. When Lazy Bee Scripts accepted the abridgement for publication, Bill set about creating thirty-minute versions of 'Twelfth Night', 'The Merchant of Venice', 'Romeo and Juliet', 'Macbeth' and 'Julius Caesar'. The aim was to produce editions of the plays suitable for schools - versions which could be read or performed in a single lesson, and would entertain and inspire young actors and their audiences.

The series then progressed to abridgements of set texts like 'Othello' and 'Antony and Cleopatra', some (dictated by plot) as long as forty or fifty minutes, which meant moving outside the original area of short plays suitable for junior schools. 'By the time that I had, almost accidentally, created abridged versions of 27 of Shakespeare's plays, it seemed logical to finish the series,' says Bill, 'Even though this meant entering the realm of Shakespeare's darker themes.' Whilst Bill was keen to stick as closely as possible to the original, 'Abridgement inevitably meant ditching characters who don't further the plot. So out went the Chorus in 'Henry V' and Falstaff's hangers-on in 'The Merry Wives.'

Bill regularly wrote half-hour plays for performance by 11-year olds at the high school in Yorkshire, England, where he spent most of my working life. He has had plays published by Heinemann and later by Lazy Bee Scripts.
'Many of my suggestions on staging derive from my memories of seeing outstanding professional productions over the years, starting at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-on-Avon in 1951, when I was carried away by the magical experience of seeing the history plays on a large stage, beautifully dressed and lit, to evocative music, performed by an outstanding company led by some of the finest actors of the day including Michael Redgrave, Anthony Quayle, Harry Andrews and, above all, the young Richard Burton. The experience of such productions serves as an ideal for amateurs to aspire to.' Bill's first Shakespearean role, in his rugby-playing days, was Charles the Wrestler in 'As You Like It'. His last, after retirement, was Prospero in 'The Tempest'.

As well as writing and staging plays in school, Bill has worked in adult theatre as actor, director, stage-manager and set-constructor and seen how much help beginners need. 'Over the years, for example, I have had to dissuade back-stage helpers from pulling the curtain at the end of every scene, however short, and I have removed lethally-sharp swords provided by an enthusiastic props department to lively youngsters. I have dealt with wardrobe ladies who have not read the script and, unless restrained, will dress all members of a group in identical robes, kilts or togas, presumably to confuse the audience. This sort of experience has enabled me to make informed suggestions about most aspects of staging a play.' One aspect of production that Bill never took to was publicity. On one memorable occasion, he had to ring the local paper to announce a forthcoming production of Terence Rattigan's 'The Browning Version'. It appeared in the press as 'The Drowning Virgin'.
 Well Well Well 
Kaa!Robby Nudd 
Plays With (Optional) Music (by Bill Tordoff)
It's A Funny Old WorldSoft SoapThe World Turned Upside Down
Market ForcesTap Tap 
Plays With (Optional) Music (by Bill Tordoff)
 The Best in the Book 
Stage Shows for Schools and Youth Theatre (by Bill Tordoff)
2B Or Not 2BCrime WaveThe Story Of Eklavya
Anyone for Bison?Josephine And Her SistersThe Story Of Karna
Castle RoyalJust Like Us 
Stage Shows for Schools and Youth Theatre (by Bill Tordoff and David Doughan)
 The Mystery Gift 
Stage Shows for Schools and Youth Theatre (by Shakespeare, abridged Bill Tordoff)
A Forty-Minute Antony and CleopatraA Forty-Minute Richard IIA Thirty-Minute Julius Caesar
A Forty-Minute CoriolanusA Forty-Minute Two Gentlemen of VeronaA Thirty-Minute Macbeth
A Forty-Minute Henry IV Part 1A Forty-Minute Winter's TaleA Thirty-Minute Measure for Measure
A Forty-Minute Henry IV Part 2A Thirty Minute As You Like ItA Thirty-Minute Much Ado
A Forty-Minute Henry VA Thirty Minute Comedy of ErrorsA Thirty-Minute Romeo and Juliet
A Forty-Minute King LearA Thirty Minute MerchantA Thirty-Minute Taming of the Shrew
A Forty-Minute Love's Labour's LostA Thirty Minute Twelfth NightA Thirty-Minute Tempest
A Forty-Minute Merry Wives of WindsorA Thirty-Minute Dream 
A Forty-Minute OthelloA Thirty-Minute Hamlet 
One-Act Plays (by Shakespeare, abridged Bill Tordoff)
A Fifty-Minute CymbelineA Fifty-Minute Richard The ThirdA Forty-Minute Pericles
A Fifty-Minute Henry VI Part 2A Fifty-Minute Titus AndronicusA Forty-Minute Timon of Athens
A Fifty-Minute Henry VI Part 3A Forty-Minute All's Well That Ends WellA Forty-Minute Troilus and Cressida
A Fifty-Minute Henry VIIIA Forty-Minute King John 
One-Act Plays (by Shakespeare, adapted by Bill Tordoff)
 A Forty-Minute Henry VI Part 1 
One-Act Plays (by John Webster abridged by Bill Tordoff)
A Fifty-Minute Duchess of MalfiA Fifty-Minute White Devil 
One-Act Plays (by Ben Jonson abridged by Bill Tordoff)
 A Forty-Minute Volpone 
One-Act Plays (by Ben Jonson adapted by Bill Tordoff)
 A Fifty-Minute Alchemist 
Recordings - CDs and MP3s (by Bill Tordoff)
 Robby Nudd - rehearsal CD 
Recordings - CDs and MP3s (by Bill Tordoff)

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