Shakespeare’s plays, the fast version


Actor Michael Corzonkoff has his throat slit in a remake of Titus Andronicus as a cooking show. (Larry Cortez)

For many of us, reading Shakespeare is like trying to navigate in an M.C. Escher painting: it’s foreign, complicated and stuffy. But in the comedy “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged” the task of comprehension is made easy and quite fun.

Condensing all of Shakespeare’s plays down to a single performance is where the humor begins. How can one condense over 30 full-length plays into a one night production without being comical?

“We are paying respect to Shakespeare, but doing it a goofy way,” said actor Michael Corzonkoff after explaining they make fun of “Macbeth” by speaking with Scottish accents and turn the tragedy “Titus Andronicus” into a television cooking show.

Some of the goofiness also comes from the costumes, designed in a partly modern, partly historical style by costume director Emma Fuchs. The men are in tights, but they are brightly colored and underneath knee-high cut-off jeans paired with white T-shirts and All-Star sneakers.

In addition to using quirky costumes, the play weaves in pop culture. Director Elizabeth Fatum, said they had to update the script because some of the jokes were out of date. With suggestions from the cast, they took out references to Vanna White and Dan Quayle (vice president from the 1990s), and replaced them The Jersey Shore, Twilight, and Charlie Sheen.

The comedy is the second play put on by Theatre Club after its almost 20 year hiatus, their first recent play being mystery the “And Then There Were None” last semester. Theatre Club President and light board operator Anna Vargas said the club is hoping to do another play next fall, but have not yet decided on what.

Members from the cast claim “Shakespeare… Abridged” is one of the funniest plays they’ve seen. They are convinced that others will enjoy the slap-stick and comedy-sketch style as much as they:

“If you like Shakespeare, you’ll like the show; if you hate Shakespeare you’ll love the show,” said Director Fatum. “Even if you’ve never heard of Shakespeare, I’d say come.”

When: April 14-16, 2011 at 7 p.m. (No Sunday matinee showing)

Cost: $10 student, $12 general admission

Where: Skyline College Theatre, building 1