Jan 182011
Authors: Allison Sylte

Actor Kurt Brighton never expected to play a blood covered, butcher-knife-carrying, Shakespearean Julia Childs. But that’s exactly what he gets to do in “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).”

The play, produced by OpenStage Theatre and Company, covers 37 of William Shakespeare’s works in just over two hours, summarizing and skewering his beloved plays in-between pop culture references, audience participation and improv. It runs at the Masonic Temple until February 13.

“I liken directing the play to a pack of rabid, insane cats,” said Brenna Freestone, the director of the production. “It’s pure chaos. Every show is a bit different.”

“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” only involves three actors, who play a variety of roles. Though they are clad in traditional Shakespearean garb, the actors say that the play is anything but traditional.

“People usually think of Shakespeare as dry and tragic, anything but really, really funny,” Brighton said. “But the show is a hurricane of funny. The jokes keep coming at you; it’s exhausting almost.”

Despite the comic and laidback approach of the show, the cast has been rehearsing since early November, attributing hard work to the play’s success.

“Putting on this show all comes down to practice, practice, practice,” Freestone said. “The show depends on tons of preparation. It takes a lot of hard work to be as crazy as possible, which is what we are striving for.”

For CSU students, the play is an interesting opportunity to get in touch with Shakespeare’s work.

“The play is really funny, while at the same time it stays true to Shakespeare’s artistic vision,” said undeclared freshman Spencer Topa. “People don’t usually think about it, but Shakespeare and comedy mix very easily.”

The Masonic Temple is located at 225 West Oak St., and tickets start at $15 for students. Performances will be held on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., with matinee performances on Sundays at 2 p.m.

“Audiences have really appreciated the humor and improv, so we’re really pleased with the production so far,” Freestone said.

Assistant News Editor Allison Sylte can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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