All 37 works (plus the sonnets) of William Shakespeare performed in one evening? Since Shakespeare himself concluded that “brevity is the soul of wit,” he would likely enjoy The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). It has become one of the most popular productions of modern theatre, and the Missoula Community Theatre is proud to present the show March 10-20 at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts.
This “creative baby” of Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield was written and performed solely by the three men “about a billion times” beginning in 1987. The script was developed through improvisation, and the playwrights encourage and fully expect each performance to be influenced by audience participation, current events, and the individual improvisational talents of the 3 cast members.
As for the Missoula Community Theatre’s cast of Mike Verdon, Kevin Harrington, and Salina Chatlain, director Rosie Ayers says, “They’re all expanders. The actors are not afraid of expanding to the audience”–a good thing, since Ayers has added a coveted “Bard’s Bar” area of seating near the stage. Those lucky audience members will be in the thick of “the magic, the genius, the towering grandeur” of Shakespeare, and perhaps some slightly more “messy” prop paraphernalia. However, Ayers will not divulge details of those comedic surprises. She will admit to the casting of Bridget Smith, who is known simply as “Roller Skating Prop Wench.”
Ayers’ enthusiasm for this hilarious show and cast is evident. “They are already smooching and dying on top of each other,” she says with a grin. After all, Shakespeare’s works do involve the comedy and tragedy of the human experience. Add speed to those experiences, Ayers’ predisposition to make all things funny, and men wearing women’s costumes, of course, and all sorts of potential PG-13 hilarity bursts forth.
A Montana connection to this show was discovered when playwright Daniel Singer’s mother, Z’eva, contacted MCT from her home in the Bitterroot. The exciting result is that Daniel Singer will be at MCT’s Premiere Night (March 10); he will also teach a master class to middle and high school students during his visit to Missoula. As if that’s not exciting enough, MCT technical director, Theresa K Jenson, proposed making this project a Zero Waste endeavor. All areas of the MCT production, including set, props, and costumes, will be recycled and reused, making all things old all things new. Quite fitting, as Shakespeare said, “We know what we are, but we know not what we may be.”
***The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) runs March 10-20 at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are available at www.MCTinc.org, by calling 406-728-7529, or at MCT’s Box Office. Ask about special seating in the “Bard’s Bar” or Daniel Singer’s master class. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) is sponsored by Rhodes & Siefert, PLLC; and Show Tyme Dance, LLC; and is a production of the Missoula Community Theatre.
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