Theater Arts presents Shakespeare Abridged

Owensboro, KY -- Kentucky Wesleyan College's Theater Arts Department, in conjunction with our on campus student theater group Stage Brigade (recently seen fundraising at Owensboro History and Science Museum's presentation of Voices of Elmwood), presents The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, starring Jack Kiely, Preston Middleton and Michelle Trenda.
A hilarious utilization of Monty Python-style humor, Shakespeare Abridged pokes fun at all thirty seven of Shakespeare's plays, touching on the well-known and the obscure in rip-roaring irreverence. 
Showing one weekend only at Trinity Center Theater, we present this "lump of hilarity" November 7th, 8th and 9th. There are shows at 7pm each night, and one late, PG-13-rated 10pm showing on Friday, November 8th. Tickets are $12 for adults, $7 for students, and will be available for purchase at the door.
Connect with us and to the show online! Use #kwcshakespeareabridged AND share one the many photos on our site and be entered to win a prize!


Poster designed by Nicki Logsdon                 


A Shakespearean twist

By Angela Oliver Messenger-Inquirer | Posted: Friday, November 1, 2013 12:00 am

In a farcical merger of the English Renaissance period and the 21st century, Kentucky Wesleyan College's production of "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged" opens with one character rattling off facts about Shakespeare after "Googling" the iconic writer on his smartphone.

He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, the character said. He was the third of eight children. He married Anne Hathaway.

"Not that Anne Hathaway," the others said in unison, referring to the Academy Award-winning "Les Miserables (2012)" actress.

KWC's theater arts department and the all-majors theater group, Stage Brigade, will present the play Nov. 7-9 at Theatre Workshop of Owensboro's Trinity Centre with a PG-13 performance on Nov. 8.

"This play is one I've seen a few times and directed before, and it's hysterical every time," said Beth Parthum, director of the play and visiting assistant professor of theater arts.

Parthum started her position at KWC in August.

"Without having too much knowledge of the students and the background of the theater program, I wanted to choose an energetic piece that could break the ice," she said.

The parody was written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, members of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, an improvisational comedy troupe, and it premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1987, later becoming London's longest-running comedy. It ran for nine years at the Criterion Theatre in the city's famous West End, according to the troupe's website.

For the 20th anniversary of the play, Singer and Winfield published a revised version to update cultural references and some of the dialogue.

Though the parts were written for three males, Michelle Trenda fills one of the roles. 

"Her audition was so strong that I had to cast her," Parthum said.

Trenda, a sophomore music education major from Greenville, said she wasn't nervous about going for a male role. She played Nick Bottom in KWC's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" last year.

"I played a man the entire time I was on stage," she said. "So, I can be flexible. I'm up for the challenge."

The other actors are sophomore Jack Kiely and junior Preston Middleton, both theater majors. The cast members refer to each other by their real names throughout the play, until they take on the role of a Shakespearean character.

Each of Shakespeare's 37 plays are condensed into the 97-minute parody, producing a fast-paced celebration of the man that the cast describes as Monty Python-esque. Along the way, the actors cross dress, rap their way through "Othello" and add their own improvised quirks.

There's a touch of physical comedy and audience interaction, as well.

The playful nature could turn new audiences into Shakespeare fans. Those who hold Shakespeare in reverence will enjoy the play, too, Parthum said.

"If anything, die-hard fans would be happy to see his work in this format because it's giving more exposure," she said. "People think Shakespeare is so sophisticated and hard to understand, or only for the classroom, but this play brings him out of that realm so everyone can appreciate it."

Angela Oliver, 691-7360

Courtesy Messenger-Inquirer


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