“All the world ‘s a stage,” said melancholy Jacques in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” “...And one man in his time plays many parts.”
Three frantic actors in Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble’s upcoming production will also play many parts as they perform “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).”
Called an “irreverent, fast-paced romp through Shakespeare’s plays,” the Complete Works will be performed by “three of BTE’s goofiest actors:” Amy Rene Byrne, Richard Cannaday and Eric Wunsch.
“What’s really cool about it is, it runs the gamut (of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories and tragedies),” Cannaday said. “So people who really love Shakespeare will have a lot to like about it. And people who know nothing about Shakespeare will also have a lot to like about it.”
The play spends the first 15 or so minutes on “Romeo and Juliet,” but zips through the rest of Shakespeare’s plays in 97 minutes.
“It gets more truncated and more lunatical as it goes along,” Cannaday said.
Echoing Cannaday’s sentiments, Wunsch said, “I think if you love and are a big fan of William Shakespeare, or if you can’t stand his plays, this play is for you. It’s both a great tribute and also pokes fun at him in a way people will enjoy.”
Director Aaron White, an adjunct Professor at Susquehanna University, has studied Shakespeare in depth but also appreciates everyday humor, Cannaday said.
“It’s a very Monty Python sort of endeavor,” he said of the play, adding that the poster he had commissioned for it even has “a wink at Python’s ‘Life of Brian.’”
“It’s bawdy. It’s silly. It’s ridiculous,” Wunsch said.
Both men referred to the show as a clown act, although Cannaday pointed out that the “Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),” which started as a 20-minute play in 1981, has gone on to become a hit play performed all over the world.
“If you liked ‘Every Christmas Story Ever Told’ or ‘Run, Forrest, Run, A Two-Man Gump,’ you’re going to love this,” Wunsch said.
“I think it’s one of those shows that will bring the highbrow and the lowbrow fans together,” Cannaday said. “You’ll laugh at the same jokes.”