Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Students perform Shakespearean plays in 90 minutes

By Kelsey Hilmes, A&E Reporter

William Shakespeare wrote 37 plays in his lifetime. Now, Pacific Lutheran students will have a chance to see them all in one night.

Vpstart Crow will present The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Abridged Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in The Studio Theater. The play is an hour-and-a-half parody of Shakespeare’s works.

“It’s like no-fear-Shakespeare onstage,” Director senior Abigail Pishaw said. “It’s got a lot of modern references and a lot of Shakespeare references so it really appeals to any audience.”

Three cast members will perform the entire show, each of them playing a number of characters. The actors will remain anonymous at the director’s request. Pishaw said the secret identity of actors is an important surprise.

For identification purposes, this article will refer to the actors by their character names: Walter, Rita and Rick.

Originally written and performed by the Reduced Shakespeare Company in 1987, the play was re-released last April with updated pop culture references.

Complete Works references Shakespeare’s best-known plays, including Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Macbeth. True to Shakespeare’s style, cross-dressing will be prominent in this production.

“I play a guy mostly so that’s interesting,” Rita said. “Just going through different characters is challenging because most of the characters are only onstage for a couple of minutes.”

Taking on Shakespeare is no small task, Rick said.

“Works of William Shakespeare are obviously some of the greatest works in the world,” Rick said. “The ambition of the show is to capture all of that greatness and literary genius.”

When rehearsals began in March, Pishaw focused on collaboration. Having taken PLU’s directing class, she said she wanted to emphasize the importance of having fun to the actors.

“We start right off playing, and it just progressively gets funnier and funnier,” Pishaw said. “They’re a brilliant trio of actors, so I trust them. They bring a lot to the rehearsal process.”

Shakespeare’s work covers a variety of genres, but cast members said Complete Works will be mostly funny.

“I think it’ll be pretty well received,” Walter said. “We all have experience with comedic stuff, and this piece is really light.”

Audiences should anticipate a lot of surprises. Pishaw said audience participation is a big part of the show. The actors may even pull audience members onstage. Tickets will cost $3 at the door.

“I hope they [audience members] realize Shakespeare is fun,” Rita said. “It’s not just big words and long speeches.”