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Published: Saturday, 4/16/2005

Nothing serious about Shakespeare


William Shakespeare is probably rolling over in his grave. Or more likely he s having a hearty laugh.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) skewers every pretension there is about the Bard s work.

The sonnets are reduced to several sentences on a 3 x 5 card. One of the cast members refuses to perform Coriolanus because the last two syllables of the title are rude.

Directed by Kirby Wahl, an assistant professor in the University of Toledo s department of theater and film, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) features UT students Abby Youngs of North Olmsted, Ohio, Seth Shaffer of Wauseon, and David Corris of Elyria, Ohio. Local actor Grant Walker rounds out the cast.

Although some parts of the production work better than others, the laughter comes thick and fast as the frenetic cast mangles dialogue, condenses the action, and changes plots to suit their needs at the moment.

Did you know that Shakespeare invaded Poland? In this production, he does.

Do you remember these lines from Romeo and Juliet: Where in a scene of timeless romance/ he ll try to get in Juliet s pants ?

Neither did I.

Physical comedy abounds, as do sly innuendo, rude jokes, and shrieking.

Lots of shrieking.

Favorite parts? An incomprehensible Macbeth, the rap sequence, the baton twirler, and the football game.

Even the mistakes at Thursday s dress rehearsal were funny.

If they were mistakes.

It s hard to tell.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) runs through April 24 in the Center Theater in UT s Center for Performing Arts. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. A signed performance for the hearing impaired is scheduled Thursday. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and UT employees and alumni, and $8 for UT students. Information: 419-530-2375.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com or 419-724-6130.

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