A taste of the BardNext week at Jamestown College there will be a new take on William Shakespeare as every one of his 37 plays gets a complete overhaul. “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” takes a comedic look at some of the greatest stories ever told.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Next week at Jamestown College there will be a new take on William Shakespeare as every one of his 37 plays gets a complete overhaul.
“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” takes a comedic look at some of the greatest stories ever told.
“This play was originally done by three guys but when we cast it we said ‘you know a couple of these ladies are very funny, and we could get them in the cast,’” said Tony McIntyre, student director.
For part of his major, McIntyre will direct Morgan Bossman, Beth Ryan and Peter Odney — as the trio works its way through all of the Bard’s works in about 90 minutes.
“It attracts me because we’re allowed to put a lot of our personality in it,” Odney said.
McIntyre lets his actors work in an environment he called “controlled chaos,” allowing them to make the show more their own — while still following direction.
“That would have been totally dismissive of me because these guys are some of the funniest (people) on campus,” he said of not totally controlling his actors.
Some of Shakespeare’s plays get a little more shaken up with comedy than others in this production. For example, actors rap “Othello,” and “Titus Andronicus,” a very graphic tragedy, is turned into an episode of “The Cake Boss.”
“For a lot of the show we get to update certain things to give audiences things they could relate to and have a lot of fun laughing at,” McIntyre said.
Shakespeare wrote his plays in iambic pentameter, which is one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one, five total times for each line. With the modern references included in the play, that style goes completely out the window.
“The three characters know less about Shakespeare than anyone you’ll ever meet,” McIntyre said.
The comedy comes at a good time in Jamestown College’s theater schedule and looks to place a bit of comedy between the first and last productions of the season, he said.
“When we were looking for a show we were looking for something fast-paced, energetic and something to balance ‘The Titanic’ and ‘The Crucible,’” McIntyre said referring to the first and final productions of this year’s JC theater lineup.
During the late 1590s and early- to-mid 1600s Shakespeare’s plays and tragedies were considered mostly for adults with stories featuring rape, incest and murder. That’s not the case with JC’s production.
“We will say there are some PG-13 moments in it,” McIntyre said. But the play is still for anyone interested in Shakespeare, or not, young or old.
But one thing audiences will experience that is true to Shakespeare’s time is the seating, which will be in the round.
Similar to the Globe Theatre in London circa 1600, audiences will surround the actor by 360 degrees. This means seating is limited to 80 for each play. Reserved seating is recommended.
“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),” is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday in DeNault Auditorium, Reiland Fine Arts Center at Jamestown College.
Tickets are $7 and may be reserved through the box office at 252-3467, ext. 2435, or email email@example.com.
“We hope it’s a show that will entertain everyone who comes and sees it,” McIntyre said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org