Starting tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 22, Theatre Baton Rouge will begin its run of The Compleat Works of Willm Shkspr (Abridged), a PG-13 rated show in which three actors perform—with great speed and humorous irreverence—all of the Bard’s 37 plays in just 90 minutes.
Directed this time by Jenny Ballard, The Compleat Works was once London’s longest-running comedy, staying nine years in the famous Criterion Theatre in the West End thanks to its wide appeal to Shakespeare scholars and casual readers alike. The play’s actors typically play themselves more than actual Shakespearean characters and, with no fourth wall in sight, speak directly to the audience to elicit laughter and participation. Actors are also prone to improvisation, erupting into spontaneous conversation among themselves and other audience members, and may also make references to local people and pop culture, which means that no two performances are necessarily alike.
From Titus Andronicus’ interpretation as a cooking show to a rap about Othello and the histories acted out as a football game, each moment increases in humor and originality. The play has even been turned into a fan-favorite book that can be enjoyed again and again, but nothing compares to its format on the stage.
The show runs through Feb. 7. Purchase tickets by calling 225-924-6496 or visiting theatrebr.org.