Stage Right: Comedy blends old world with modern one

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2024

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Stage Right by Laura Stegman

Shakespeareans, oh Shakespeareans, where art tho Shakespeareans? Even those of you who don’t know much about Shakespeare, this show will definitely entertain you. I always knew William Shakespeare was a famous playwright and I don’t think it is possible to go through the English classes in high school and not talk about Shakespeare, but I never realized how many plays and sonnets he wrote. At least not until I watched this play and witnessed the feat being tackled in under two hours. “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” walks you through the plots of some of the most well known stories like Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, but also gives you a glimpse of ones that you may have never heard of before.

Laura Stegman

I have been in theater for many years and I have learned one very clear thing: There is one play title that you do not say in the theater. If you do, there is always some crazy ritual you perform like you must say the name backwards and spin around 10 times just to hope that nothing bad happens. William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth” has such a funny superstition surrounding it that no matter what theater you walk into, it is referred to as “the play that shall not be named.” I had to laugh when they referenced that very same superstition. I guess some things will never change in the world of theater.

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This is a very fast-paced comedy that is sure to keep you on your toes. The cast has an impressive amount of energy to journey through all the romances, fights and betrayals Shakespeare writes in his story lines. I had to ask the director if they were drinking energy drinks backstage to keep the pace going and he said, “nope, that is their natural energy.” I was absolutely blown away by that. These talented actors and actresses fly on and off stage without missing a beat or showing any sign of slowing down. I would say that every time they go off stage they are doing some kind of costume change as fast as possible. Part of the fun of watching this show was seeing all the different costumes and looks the characters came out in. I have to imagine that half of the space in the back of the theater is just racks and racks of costumes all lined up.

When you hear the name Shakespeare, most people instantly think of that very specific type of speech and have to take a pause to think about what Shakespeare is truly saying. However, this cast does such a great job of making it very understandable and entertaining to watch. They know those lines fast, slow, forwards and backwards, literally. This comedy is definitely written to blend the old world with the modern one. If you listen carefully, you might pick up on a lot of the current world references.

My lads and m’ladies if you want a good laugh, you have got to get down to the Marion Ross for ACT’s performance of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.” You are sure to have a good time!

Laura Stegman is a math teacher and theater director at Southwest Middle School. She has helped out backstage for ACT plays including “Mary Poppins,” “A Christmas Story,” and “Beauty and the Beast.”