The Department of Visual and Theater Arts will present, “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged, Revised”, starting today through March 3.
Written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, the production is a three man parody that follows friends as they act out and include all of Shakespeare’s 37 plays.
After a good response from their performance last semester of “As You Like It,” the department decided to continue with more of the playwright’s work.
“We thought that this would be a fun way to make all of his plays accessible to everyone because everybody kind of gets a headache when we start thinking about Shakespeare,” said director and Visual and Theatre Arts associate professor Kevin Shell.
Preparation for the play began in December 2015, and it stars students Mark Connell, Dillon Davis and graduate Cody Jarman.
Characters are named after the actors for a more personal approach.
Connell, senior theatre major, called his character the “PR guy of the group” and largely introduces the scenes and supervises the other two characters.
Davis embodies a child-like character that he said he modeled after “Parks and Recreation character”, Andy Dwyer. He also plays many of the female roles.
Jarman graduated in December 2015 with a Bachelor of Fine Art in Theatre Arts and a Bachelor of Arts in English. He works at the UTM writing center and Discovery Park and embodies a Shakespearean scholar.
“My role is the chance to make fun of all the English teachers that have shoved Shakespeare down your throat throughout your lifetime,” said Jarman.
However, the three man show has presented its challenges.
“It’s a heavy role, to be honest,” said Connell. “[It’s] heavier than any role I’ve had previously. There’s a lot of work that goes into it but I feel like the work that I’ve done has amounted to what’s going to a spectacular performance as well.”
Behind the scenes, student Asa Woodward handles the props and costume changes for Davis.
“It being one person keeping up with all of that and changing him is different because in the last play I had three other people backstage. There wasn’t a lot of props or costume changes, so with this one I don’t have a lot of think.”
On the other side of the stage, student Eli McCaig manages the props and costume changes for Mark.
Additionally, understudies, students Andrew Jones and Lymonte’ Thomas along with graduate Casey Williams, will perform excerpts of the play in a 30 minute lunchbox theater show starting every Wednesday, from March 23 to April 13 in the Vanguard Little Theatre. These performances will start at noon and lunch will be provided.
“This is my first time ever experiencing it [the play]. When Kevin gave me the script and I read it, I was going home for the weekend. I was in the car and I was cracking up,” said freshman Thomas. “I thought it was the most hilarious thing I’ve ever read.”
All in all, the play will be humorous with plenty of audience interaction.
“It’s an in your face, fast moving comedy,” Shell said. “It covers a lot of ground.”
The show will be in the Little Theatre. Curtain time is from 8-10 p.m. every day except Feb. 28, which will be from 3-5 p.m. It runs for an hour and a half and tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students. Box offices will open two hours before every performance.