Attention deficit Shakespeare
October 7, 2008 · Updated 3:08 PM
Liam Sanchez, Shane C. Hall
and Daniel Estes lead a high-energy romp of the Bard’s “Complete
Works” at WWCA.
No matter what is written in the body of this article, you won’t truly know what you’re in for with WWCA’s “Complete Works of Shakespeare” until you’re right there in it.
Or, of course, if you’ve seen it before.
If you have, keep quiet, don’t ruin it for the newbies.
“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” could be considered one of the most stigma-ridden productions in theater. Any performance of Shakespeare tends to conjure a certain set of preconceived notions, but a company attempting to perform the complete works of the prolific playwright on just one night with only three actors conjures one big preconceived question mark.
It’s preposterous from the title.
And it only gets better.
Following the introduction of the players, one of the three cast members, Liam Sanchez, is sitting in an armchair reading a black leather book of “The Complete Works,” playing an astute scholar of an actor.
“It would be impossible to play all the roles of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ with just three actors,” Sanchez says looking up from his book. “And so we’ll use two.”
With that hint of the toungue-in-cheekness to follow, the trio takes us to Verona, Italy, for the love story that is one of Shakespeare’s most well known works. With
Sanchez narrating from the armchair, the other two cast members Daniel Estes and Shane C. Hall act out the lovers’ tragedy.
“What’s in a name?” Hall calls in a high-pitched voice from the balcony, acting the part of Juliet, wearing a long black wig. “That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet.”
“I take thee at thy word,” Estes replies as Romeo. “Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized, henceforth ... .”
“But love?!” Hall laughs. “You want me to call you but love?”
“Call me but love,” Estes continues, perturbed. “Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized, henceforth I never will be Romeo.”
And so on, and so forth, and everybody dies ... the end.
That snippet of Romeo and Juliet played by Sanchez, Estes and Hall, while a tinge outrageous, is also representative of the greater play “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).”
They follow it up with “Titus Andronicous” as a cooking show and “Othello” as a rap song. Then they do “that Scottish play” with perfect Scottish accents.
It’s supposed to be wacky, it’s supposed to be zany, it’s supposed to be partly improvised. It’s supposed to be condensed shorter than a T.V. sitcom, it’s supposed to be slightly absurd, and only slightly relevant to the Bard’s work.
But at the end of the show, you’re likely to come away with a newfound, and possibly uncomfortably intimate, relationship both with Shakespeare and these three actors.