Recommended Plays to Watch
Shakespeare wrote PLAYS, not literature. Shakespearean plays were meant to be WATCHED! Unfortunately, there are very few modern productions of Shakespeare's plays that are family-friendly. And because I have been asked many times over which play productions are safe for the whole family to watch, I decided to include a list here on the website-- including plays our local commonwealth schools have produced. (Some directed by me, some directed by others.)
Of course, Not ALL of Shakespeare's plays are listed here, but hopefully, this list will give you a good place to start. All links go to Netflix or YouTube.
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
(*NOTE: I have yet to find a completely clean modern version of Hamlet. There seems to be one scene that every director feels needs to be racy, and that is the scene when Hamlet confronts his mother in her bedroom. After Hamlet kills Polonius during that scene, I recommend that you skip the rest of that scene and move on to the next one. This is true for the two starred versions above.)
(*Julius Caesar is a tragedy with some blood, suicide, and intrigue, but it should be okay for children above age 10 who are not too sensitive.)
(*NOTE: Macbeth is a violent play-- there's no getting around it. The version listed above has some sad and bloody moments, it should be okay for children above age 10 who are not too sensitive.)
The Merchant of Venice
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
2011 TJLA Youth Production (Part 2)
*The 1993 version has a couple of racy scenes that can be skipped over, but it will require a vigilant parent sitting with the children viewers to forward scenes at the correct times. The introduction, when the family goes back to the house to bathe, has NUDITY in it. It should be skipped until the soldiers enter and greet the host.
1965 Production with Laurence Olivier (I have not seen this one! It is unrated, so viewer beware.)
*NOTE: This play is about adultery, jealousy and revenge. It is not recommended for children.
Romeo and Juliet*
*There are lots of versions of this play, but few clean ones. The two listed above are family-friendly.
The Taming of the Shrew
2010 Production with Christopher Plummer (This version has one scene-- the marriage when the goddesses come and sing-- that has some extremely immodest costumes. The three singing goddesses are in sheer dresses. That scene can be easily skipped.)
1996 Production with Imogen Stubbs (A favorite! I advise viewers to skip the scene where the captain helps Viola change her clothes to look like a man. It's near the beginning, after the shipwreck.)