Tuesday, March 31, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

All of Shakespeare, cooked into a two-hour parody

Actors Kris Ide, left; Steph Hankinson; and Daniel Storrow appear in the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble's production of "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)," which continues Thursday through Sunday at the UC Davis Arboretum Gazebo. Rob Fadtke/Courtesy photo

By
May 17, 2011 |

Check it out

What: “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)”

When: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Arboretum gazebo on Garrod Drive, UC Davis

Tickets: $12 adults, $8 students, $5 children 12 and under; [email protected] or (661) 304-4341

“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),” currently being produced in the UC Davis Arboretum Gazebo by the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble, is a parody that boils down the entire Shakespeare canon (sonnets and all) into a very silly two-hour summary, on the theory that (to quote you-know-who) “brevity is the soul of wit.”

The show uses only three actors, several bad wigs, a fake sword or two, a rubber snake, two sock puppets, a more-or-less life-size blow-up doll, and a few other simple props.

The back story: The script was gradually developed during the 1980s by a trio of hungry pranksters (Adam Long, Daniel Singer, Jess Winfield) who honed their material performing at Renaissance faires in California. They eventually compiled the best bits into a short show they took to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1987.

The rapturous reception that they received in Scotland propelled them to expand the show (adding an audience participation segment in the second half). This version enjoyed a successful run in London and a couple of international tours.

Since the early ’90s, the Reduced Shakespeare Company focused its comic approach on other sacred cows, doing shows that summarized the “Complete History of America,” “The Bible, “All the Great Books” and other topics, most recently “Sports.”

Meantime, the original script for “Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” has been picked up by numerous theater groups around the world — because it’s funny, it doesn’t require vast resources to stage, and if it’s done right, it’ll draw a crowd.

This reviewer has probably seen half a dozen productions during the past 10 years, including several in Sacramento. The show’s been done twice at the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival.

But as far as I know, the show has not been staged in Davis (until now), and when I chatted with members of the audience Friday, most people said they were seeing it for the first time.

The Davis Shakespeare version features Kris Ide, Steph Hankinson and Daniel Storrow (who dons several of the bad wigs as he plays Juliet and other female roles in drag).

The show begins with Hankinson and Ide posing as Shakespeare “experts,” worried that their lack of background will be revealed. They quickly move into parodies.

These include plays with plotlines that almost everyone is familiar with — even if they’ve never seen them — like “Romeo and Juliet.” In this case, the spoof focuses mostly on the balcony scene, with Ide as Romeo climbing onto the roof of the gazebo to call out to his beloved. But there’s also a campy death scene as well. (Lots of campy death scenes, as well as exaggerated barfing, in this revue.)

The show also takes on a few of the plays that are familiar only to Shakespeare completists, like “Titus Andronicus” (a seldom-staged early Shakespeare tragedy that includes lopped-off limbs, an evil character who’s killed and cooked into a meat pie — shades of “Sweeney Todd,” except Shakespeare got their first — and more).

In this case, “Titus Andronicus” is recast as a TV cooking show. You don’t need to be familiar with the Shakespeare original; the parody is darkly humorous on its own.

Staged in a gazebo and directed by Gia Battista, the action plays out mostly in the small area in the center, surrounded by a circle of seats. This means the three performers are almost constantly bumping into each other, heightening the physical comedy. The gazebo has a roof, but no walls, so it is wise to bundle up if you are attending an evening performance.

The trio’s timing with jokes is pretty good, and their performances are energetic, which is important in a show like this. The script — which was always intended to leave room for improvisation — has been updated here and there with several contemporary pop culture references.

And the basic material is still funny; even I knew what was coming in many scenes — having seen other productions — I couldn’t help cracking a smile.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or (530) 747-8055.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Special playground dedication slated

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

     
     
    ‘Old Autos’ at Hattie Weber Museum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Lenten giving project highlights climate justice

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    DCCNS plans open house April 8

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Parent-child open house previews new Waldorf classes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Summer garden alert!

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Poker tourney benefits DMTC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Davis FFA and ag students host plant sale

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    Camp Shakespeare begins Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Davis tops list of best schools for the buck

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4

    Pence Gallery recruiting volunteers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Tour de Cluck has selected its coops

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    City extends nomination period for Huynh Awards

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    CBH hosts Passover Community Potluck Seder

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Parenting class meets Tuesdays

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    RSVP for Gerber Young Community Leader reception

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Neighbors invited to adopt Willow Creek Park

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Yolo animal shelter seeks donations

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

     
    Move over, Muggles

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A5

    Meeting examines Northstar Pond priorities

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Forum

    Why can’t we be friends?

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    UC Davis opens hopeful spring football camp

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    A very palpable hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UC Davis plays 7 of next 8 softball games at home

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Over the years, The Show has been a reach for Davis

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Sleiffer leads Aggie tennis win versus Montana

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Grizzlies beat Kings to end three-game skid

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

    Snubbed Temple, returning Stanford highlight NIT semis

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    30 years of dance in Davis with Pamela Trokanski

    By Chloe Lessard | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    ‘A Year with Frog and Toad’ a delightful family show

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Mischief to play at Picnic in the Park

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Yolo Mambo will play at winery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Thursday Live! plans a blues party

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Jane Lynch performance rescheduled to August

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Hear some April Fool’s night jazz

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Dance the night away at house party

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7