Friday, October 24, 2014
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; davis.shakespeare@gmail.com 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 jhudson@davisenterprise.net 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

    A-Z: Downtown Davis is the place to celebrate

    By Kimberly Yarris | From Page: C1

     
    Courageous Thompson tapped for cycling shrine

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    UC researchers: How low-water can our landscapes go?

    By Katie F. Hetrick | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Testimony begins in Winters murder trial

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Hong Kong protesters to vote on staying in streets

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Cloud business lifts Microsoft’s quarterly results

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Host families needed for students and teachers from Mexico

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Halloween Dance set Friday for teens

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Yoga and chanting workshop planned

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Downtown menu: coffee, boba tea, dessert

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: C3

     
    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    ‘Homeopathy at Home’ program planned

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Celebrate origami at Davis library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Garden sale and open house features water-wise demos

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C4

    Meet Poppenga at dog park Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Day of the Dead folk art class set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Flea Market planned Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Enjoy A Taste of Capay at historic ranch

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Red-hot tunes set at Blues Harvest

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Learn how to fill a cornucopia with flowers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Video highlights Props. 1 and 2

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Bay Bridge art project needs $4 million to keep shining

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Weir honored, a year early

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    For a good cause

    By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A6

    Americans, internationals make connections

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Explorit: Poison-proof your home with free lecture

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A6

    Sutter auxiliary seeks volunteers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    School board hopefuls discuss homework policy

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

    Walkers welcome to join Sierra Club outings

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Project Linus seeks donations

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    The magic is long gone

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Subs have other concerns

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    What’s next with Ebola?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    More theories on the abstention

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Rights beget responsibilities

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Water returns to its source

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    A solution to the drought

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Experience nature’s treasures

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    .

    Sports

    Aggies expect a bonny meeting in Sacramento

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    DHS footballers take on Pleasant Grove

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Bye No. 2 comes at perfect time for nicked-up UCD

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Shhh. Are Aggie women BWC’s best-kept secret?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Bump, set, playoffs: Blue Devil girls clinch spot in postseason

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD roundup: Preseason awards roll in for Aggie hoopster Hawkins

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Sharks suffer from road woes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    DMTC plans ‘My Fair Lady’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    Czech Philharmonic Orchestra to perform

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Calling all artists for upcoming show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    ‘St. Vincent:’ Quite a character

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Rumpledethumps to play at Village Homes Performers’ Circle

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

     
    Car Care: Five things to ask yourself when shopping for a new vehicle

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

    .

    Obituaries

    Lewis Melvin Dudman

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Ann Foley Scheuring

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, October 24, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B3