Monday, June 20, 2011

Backstage at the Globe

All the World’s a Stage, A Novel in Five Acts by Gretchen Woelfle

It’s the end of the sixteenth century in Elizabethan London. Orphaned Kit Buckles is working off a debt. Will Shakespeare has saved him from the sheriff. Now Kit must repay the kindness with a stage boy’s labor. In an instant, he goes from a nipping stripling to a grub-slave. As Kit learns what goes on behind the scene at the Theatre playhouse, he is caught up in the real drama of a secret plot.

Author Gretchen Woelfle’s middle grade novel All the World’s a Stage, A Novel in Five Acts takes the reader backstage at what will become the famous Globe Theatre for a historically accurate event. Woelfle casts her story with authentic characters that were part of the real drama in 1599.

Lured by the call of the stage, Kit takes pointers from player James. Encouraged by Master Carpenter Peter Street, Kit learns how to use a chisel and how to dismantle and rebuild a post and beam frame. Will Shakespeare, forever busily writing new plays, lends an ear whenever Kit needs one. Molly the apple-seller befriends Kit and tries to convince him he is master of his own fate. Through his failure at what he thought was his dream, Kit learns his weaknesses and his strengths. He discovers an inherited skill and finds a way to build a future.

All the World’s a Stage
transports readers 400 years into the past. Yet, the main character faces choices as difficult as those of twenty-first century readers. From Act I to Act V, readers care about Kit Buckles. He seems like a real person living in a setting vibrant with sights, sounds and smells. It’s a great read. See Gretchen's book trailer at

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