Abridged version of Shakespeare’s plays

Drama department showcases a famous playwright’s works at Knox Center

By Christian Urrutia, photo editor

Three actors are tackling 37 plays from the most famous bard in “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged” which premiered Tuesday at 8 p.m. and will continue  through Saturday in the Knox Center.

Tickets will cost $10 dollars for students and general attendees will pay $15.

Improvisation and audience participation are noted highlights in this version of the play.

Adjunct drama professor and director of the play,Angelina LaBarre, said it was originally written by the Reduced Shakespeare Company. When the play was put together, it was meant to act as a highlight reel for people unfamiliar with Shakespeare’s plays.

“If you do enjoy Shakespeare’s work, then you’ll find the inside jokes hilarious,” LaBarre said.

Stephanie Rivas, Justin Hernandez and Oz Herrera-Sobal will perform 37 plays and convey all the styles and emotions of the Shakespearian comedies and tragedies.

There is a lot of audience participation planned and part of the show is how these three actors use them or the improvisational direction they want to take and therefore makes each performance unique, LaBarre said.

“Whatever the audience brings to the table, the actors will use. So for people sitting close, they might want to anticipate being in the show just like any other show where the audience is involved or picked on,” LaBarre said.

There is no formal plot, since each actor is impersonating different characters to show the audience what each play is about. These wild interpretations are made while retaining their own real names throughout the show.

Herrera-Sobal said all three actors will represent themselves and perform each play  as fast as possible in order to keep to the time limit of an hour and a half while explaining the important details of the most well known scenes.

“If you don’t know much about Shakespeare, we go into detail for you, but if you do know, then everything will make sense and the lingo makes it funnier,” Herrera-Sobal said. “It will all tie together.”

As a drama major, he said he is excited for his first college play despite having only two months to prepare.

Carlos-Manuel Chavarria, drama assistant professor and department chairperson, said the department is hoping the first play of the semester will be well received.

“This play has come to draw large audiences and so I want to get all the attention of students and faculty so we can show that we have a new program, a new instructor and a whole new season,” Chavarria said. “We’re starting everything from scratch.”

He said the play is a “screwball” comedy and all the plays have to be touched on in less than two hours, each introducing Shakespeare in a different way.

“Since it is abridged, we don’t know how it is going to turn out with the actors trying to make the audience a part of it.”

Chavarria wants to show that the theater is not only a viewable experience, but a participatory one as well, to become part of the story and have a fun, more enjoyable time during the show.

LaBarre said the show is going to kick off the theatrical year in a fast paced, fun direction.