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Acting Out by Justin Chanda

Acting Out

by Justin Chanda (Editor)

Other authors: Avi (Contributor), Susan Cooper (Contributor), Sharon Creech (Contributor), Patricia MacLachlan (Contributor), Katherine Paterson (Contributor)1 more, Richard Peck (Contributor)

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My favorite play was Paterson's "Billionnaire and the Bird." These plays appear easy to stage, using one part props and one part audience imagination. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

What happens when you ask six Newbery Award winners to write one-act plays? Well, you get a book like ACTING OUT, and you get the potential for a lot of fun.

Award-winning authors Avi, Susan Cooper, Sharon Creech, Patricia MacLachlan, Katherine Paterson, and Richard Peck were asked to write one-act plays. They were given the freedom to write about anything, but there was one catch. Each author picked a word which was to be used in all six plays. The words chosen were dollop, hoodwink, Justin, knuckleball, panhandle, and raven. Their creative efforts are a pleasure to read.

The subjects of the plays include school topics like the detention room and a scary substitute, a mysterious voice, a moving, talking giant rock, a childhood Edgar A. Poe, and a selfish billionaire. Each script includes stage directions, character descriptions, and production hints.

ACTING OUT is successful as a casual reading experience as well as for its potential for actual staged performances. Readers will appreciate seeing a different side of some of their favorite Newbery authors. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 9, 2009 |
Acting Out is a compilation of six plays by noted children’s authors, Avi, Susan Cooper, Sharon Creech, Patricia MacLachlan, Katherine Paterson, and Richard Peck. Besides being written by talented authors, the plays have something else in common. Using a technique used in improvisational acting, editor Justin Chanda asked each author to submit a word that must be used in each play. The resulting words, hoodwink, dollop, raven, knuckleball, panhandle, and Justin appear in every play. Part of the fun is noting how the author works in the unusual additions.

Note how “raven” appears in Richard Peck’s play, “Effigy in the Outhouse,” which takes place in the year 1910. One of his characters, Edna, the eldest and bossiest student in the one-room school house, yells out, “Stop all your rantin’ and raven. I declare, you’re all like hogs turned into an orchard.”

The plays are varied in style and content. The plays are mysterious, life-like, whimsical, environmental, historical, and more. Although Richard Peck’s humorous look at children in a one-room schoolhouse is my favorite, Sharon Creech’s spoof on the publishing industry is a hoot as well! A young Edgar Allen Poe, is trying to seal a deal with a modern day publisher,

TRISH: Ah yes, strategies, et cetera. The two-word title is OUT. Out, out, out!
POE: Out?
TRISH: Quite, Out. Your use of “The” is fine, mind you. Absolutely terrific! But we need “The something-something.” You follow? … “The Raven Code,” perhaps? “The Raven KNUCKLEBALL”? Or better yet. “Something-something and the something-something.” Let’s say “Polly Raven and the Silver Chalice, “ mm?

This book is perfect for older reader’s theater groups or school groups. A note of caution, though – although its title is Acting Out, any group wishing to perform these plays, must obtain written permission from the publishers. Performance rights will, however, be granted without charge to non-profit groups. ( )
  shelf-employed | Jun 27, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chanda, JustinEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
AviContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cooper, SusanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Creech, SharonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
MacLachlan, PatriciaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Paterson, KatherineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Peck, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Six original one-act plays for middle graders written by six Newbery winning authors.

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