1. Cut! Mark out minor characters’ lines and eliminate nonessential scenes.
2. Take turns. Just round robin read instead of assigning parts. Everybody gets to read about the same amount and try out different roles.
3. There are no small parts…. Assign the big roles to the kids, then do all the small roles yourself. Or let one kid do all the small roles. (This is great for practicing different voices.)
4. Make do with two. If you only have two students – or just yourself and one student – then divide and conquer. Have one person do all the male roles while another does all the female roles. Or assign one large role and a few small roles to each actor. Or split up the adults’ and children’s roles. (It’s fun and funny for you to play the kids!)
5. Take a chance. Have everyone randomly draw characters’ names until all parts are assigned.
6. Put the narrator on a “soundtrack.” Record someone – yourself, a student, or a special “guest star” – reading the narrator’s part ahead of time. Then play the tape between the “live” reading of other parts.
For other theatre suggestions, go to my website and click on the theatre tab.