Purdue University Fort Wayne's Department of Theatre offers “The Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged) [revised]” on Dec. 3 and 4.
But this isn't your typical production of The Bard's work. This fast-paced farce, originally created by the Reduced Shakespeare Company, parodies all of Shakespeare's 37 plays in under two hours.
PFW's Jeff Casazza directs the cast of underclassmen in PFW's Kettler Hall studio theater. The show is rated PG-13 and children younger than 6 will not be admitted.
Freshman Jackson McKinney, a Concordia Lutheran High School graduate, is among members of the cast. He answered these questions via email. Responses have been edited.
Q. How does this show's format differ from a traditional stage production such as “Romeo and Juliet”?
A. The format of this show is nothing like you would see from a traditional Shakespearean performance because the entire time we are basically making fun of everything Shakespeare has written. It is very informal and should feel like a complete improvisation.
Take “Romeo and Juliet,” for example, which is a serious show that takes serious acting. In our show, we are playing ourselves, playing Shakespeare's characters, very badly.
Q. Do people need to be familiar with all of Shakespeare's plays to enjoy this show?
A. No! If you have never read any of Shakespeare's work or have never even heard of him, you can come and still have a good time and enjoy our ridiculousness. Even though they are portrayed chaotically, a basic understanding can be obtained from the Shakespearean plays covered in our show.
Q. What other classic works would you like parody onstage?
A. When you see the show, you will see that we will do “Macbeth.” This is a show that I think could be very funny and enjoyable if someone were to dig deeper into the show and make a parody of it.
Q. What is your favorite full-length Shakespeare work, and what Shakespeare role do you most want to perform onstage?
A. My favorite Shakespeare play is actually “Romeo and Juliet.” Though that may be the stereotypical answer for many people, I read my freshman year of high school and found the story entertaining.
Though “Romeo and Juliet” is my favorite, the role I would most like to perform is Othello in the play “Othello.” I find the story itself very interesting and would love to take on the challenge of playing him.
Q. What lessons are you learning from this show that you will carry with you as you continue with theater?
A. The main lesson I have taken from doing this show is that in this profession, you should be prepared for anything and everything.
This show is nothing like a traditionally structured dramatic piece, and is not at all what I imagined I would be doing before I arrived at Purdue Fort Wayne; however, I am very grateful for being a part of it, and have been having so much fun getting to work on it with my wonderful directors and castmates this past month!
If you go
What: “The Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged) [revised]”
When: 8 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4
Where: Studio Theatre, Kettler Hall, Purdue University Fort Wayne, 2101 Coliseum Blvd. E.
Admission: $5; 481-6555 or pfw.edu/tickets