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Adam Long, Daniel Singer, Jess Winfield

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)

Nikola Zavišić

Comedy

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The Reduced Shakespeare Company is a touring American acting troupe that performs fast-paced, seemingly improvisational condensations of famous plays. The company's style has been described as "New Vaudeville," combining both physical and verbal humour. Known as the "Bad Boys of Abridgment," the RSC has created eight stage shows: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) in 1987, The Complete History of America (abridged) in 1992, The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) in 1995, Western Civilization: The Complete Millennium Musical (abridged) in 1998, All the Great Books (abridged) in 2002, Completely Hollywood (abridged) in 2005, The Complete World of Sports (abridged) in 2010, and The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged) in 2011.

In 1981 Daniel Singer, who had studied theatre at the Guilford School near London, went back to California. After seeing Tom Stoppard’s Fifteen-minute Hamlet he became inspired to write a 25-minute, 4-actor version of Shakespeare's Hamlet. He cast himself as Polonius, Horatio, and Laertes; Jess Borgeson as the Prince Hamlet; Michael Fleming as Bernardo, Claudius, and the Ghost of Hamlet's father; and Barbara Reinertson as Ophelia and Gertrude. On the opening day the group called themselves The Reduced Shakespeare Company. The original RSC lasted for three weeks. After Reinertson broke her ankle Adam Long filled in for her in drag. The show won high praise and developed a large following with many performances. In 1987, a friend of the company suggested that they tour the famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. The ideal show length being about an hour, they decided they needed about twenty more minutes of material, and proposed doing Shakespeare's other 35 plays to round out an abridgement of everything the Bard wrote in less than one hour.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) script that resulted from a collaboration between Jess Borgeson, Adam Long and Daniel Singer successfully premiered in an open-framed barn at the Paramount Ranch in Agoura. Two months later it moved to Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it won excellent reviews. The troupe sparked interest in England and in California. After two performances at the Los Angeles Fringe Festival, the show (expanded to two hours) transferred to Cast Theatre in Hollywood. Subsequently it toured theatres and festivals around the world. At the Criterion Theatre in London West End it ran for nine record-breaking years.

A group of actors decides to perform a series of famous scenes from the great Bards' plays in one evening: Romeo and Juliet, Titus Andronicus, Othello, Julius Caesar, Anthony and Cleopatra, Macbeth, Hamlet … Shakespeare's versatile and colossal work has generated a vast body of theoretical works, therefore actors cannot avoid commenting on his plays and therefore engage interactively with the audience. The three actors first introduce themselves to the audience and begin with a parody of Romeo and Juliet. Next, they do a parody of Titus Andronicus, portraying it as a cooking show. Following it is Othello. Once they realize that they cannot stage it as they lack a black actor, they do it through a rap song. The rest of the first act demonstrates most of the other plays, with all of the comedies being combined into one convoluted play. The entire second act is the performance of Hamlet.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) is a brilliantly funny parody which presents classical works to a wide audience. The production is suitable for secondary school audiences.

Translator Milan Jesih
Director and Set Designer Nikola Zavišić
Dramaturg Tina Kosi
Costume Designer Mateja Benedetti
Music composed and performed by Anže Čater
Rap songs lyrics translated and adapted by Murat, Aljoša Koltak
Author of Illustrations Luka Uršič
Lighting Designer Nikola Zavišić
Language Consultant Jože Volk
Assistant Director Eva Kokalj

Cast
Daniel Vojko Belšak
Jess Andrej Murenc
Adam Aljoša Koltak
Anže, a singer Anže Čater (guest appearance)

William Shakespeare's Sonnets 121, 130 and 145 used in the production were translated by Janez Menart and published in 1965 by Slovenska matica, Ljubljana.

Opening 4 October 2013
Performance duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes. No interval.

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  • Aljoša Koltak, Andrej Murenc, Vojko Belšak

  • Aljoša Koltak, Andrej Murenc, Vojko Belšak

  • Aljoša Koltak, Andrej Murenc

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