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One Act Preview: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

For those who become bored at the mere mention of Shakespeare, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) will prove to be a refreshing new look at the Bard. The parody, written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield, explores the plays written by William Shakespeare in a shortened manner. On Nov. 10, the Westminster Players will perform their own version of the play with English teacher Maggie Blake as director.

“Miss Maggie Blake is a fantastic director,” said junior Erica-Marie Sanchez. “She did a wonderful job with Almost, Maine last year.”

Seeing the show will be a different kind of experience because the cast will perform multiple comedy-infused works by Shakespeare, instead of just performing one specific play for the audience.

“I heard it’s going to be really funny,” said Sanchez. “It’ll be easier to understand than regular Shakespeare.”

It is not unusual for cast members to reference popular culture throughout the play, though no such references are written into the script. Improvisation plays a key role in the show.

“[The show] will be faster paced, less romantic, and have more audience participation,” said Blake. “There will be characters moving on and off the stage, and we pull people up from the audience onto the stage.”

Senior Will Oglesby says the audience can even look forward to a rap about Othello during the production.

“The entire Othello plot is described through the rap but it still manages to explain everything,” said Oglesby. “It’s awesome.”

Traditionally, the play is performed by only three actors, but Blake and student director Henry Quillian have been able to recast the show to include 17 cast members total.

“For a one-act, it gets a ton of people involved,” said Blake. “It gets Shakespeare out there and it’s funny.”

Blake explained that helping students make their vision for their character come to life on stage is something she loves about directing. The actors’ individual interpretations will certainly come into play with this particular show.

“What I love about directing is similar to what I love about teaching,” said Blake. “Someone has an interpretation of a scene and I help them bring that interpretation to life.”

Though Sanchez notes her excitement to see the show from the audience’s point of view for once, Blake does mention audience members can be called to stage by cast members.

“There’s more breaking of the fourth wall,” said Blake. “It’s much more frantic.”

Oglesby also mentions that the tech requirement introduced by Kate Morgens, director of theater arts, for The Pajama Game cast will remain in place throughout rehearsals for The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).

“You have to do four hours of tech for each show,” said Oglesby. “Like helping Mr. Adams with lights or setting up the soundboard.”  Since this show is a one-act, only two hours will be required of the actors.

The show promises an entertaining night full of surprises and fun to be had by all. The cast hopes for an audience prepared to laugh and perhaps participate alongside them as they perform The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) on Nov. 10.

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