Imagine “The Complete Works of Shakespeare” in about 90 minutes, with those populations of characters played by three actors, and even the tragedies coming across as comedies.
OK, you don’t have to imagine it. All you have to do is travel to Adel to experience it.
Cook County High School Theatre presents playwrights Daniel Singer, Jess Winfield and Adam Long’s “The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged” this week. The show has fun with numerous Shakespearean themes, says Jeremy Williams, Cook High theatre director.
“The show could be described as a parody. It is most assuredly a comedy,” Williams says. “It’s made up of short sketches based on Shakespeare’s plays. A lot of the Elizabethan language is kept intact, though. One of the fun things about it is that the script incorporates contemporary pop culture references, and allows producing companies the flexibility to make the show their own. It’s important to note here that every show gets at least a mention, and several shows are fleshed out pretty extensively, yet all of this is done by only three actors.”
That’s a lot of Shakespeare for one play and a cast of three. Those cast members are Cook High students Jacob Mitchell, Seth Bryan, Connor Rentz. If attending, get used to these names now. Instead of Hamlet, Othello, Romeo, Juliet, etc., the “actors use their own names instead of character names,” Williams says.
In addition to a sprint through the marathon repertoire of Shakespeare, while also honing their comic timing, the show “includes many difficult elements,” Williams says, “Shakespearean language, clowning, improvisation, high-energy athletics, sword fights, and live music, including a rap. Actors really had to stretch themselves for this show, as they’re asked to do so many different things.”
To prepare, the cast studied Shakespeare’s plays and characters as did a crew of nearly 20 students working this show.
It takes a deal of toil to ensure whether a play is to be or not to be.
Cook High School Theatre presents Singer, Winfield and Long’s “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged.”
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19.
Where: Carolyn Harris Performing Arts Center, Cook High School, Highway 37 East, Adel.
More information: Call (229) 896-2213.