Unseam'd Shakespeare unlocks all The Bard in 97 minutes
The Unseam'd Shakespeare Company kicks off its 20th season with a mini-marathon.
The company will sprint through all 37 of William Shakespeare's plays in 97 minutes with its production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).”
Created in the late 1980s by the improvisational comedy troupe Reduced Shakespeare Company, the show began touring the United States in 1988 and has made repeated appearances at Pittsburgh Public Theater.
It also has become the longest-running comedy in London, where it has played for a decade.
The fast-paced, satiric romp incorporates lots of physical comedy, visual puns, improvisation and audience interaction that aims at drawing laughs from audience members who have never seen a Shakespeare play, as well as committed Elizabethan theater scholars.
“It's an irreverent valentine to Shakespeare,” says Andy Kirtland, the artistic associate for the Unseam'd Shakespeare Company. “It's three guys doing Shakespeare because they love him and want you to love him, too.”
Three area actors will perform the Unseam'd Shakespeare Company production — Kirtland plus Nicholas J. Browne and Connor McCanlus.
“It's our opportunity to put our spin on this,” says Kirtland, who points out that the Reduced Shakespeare Company script encourages companies who produce the show to make whatever changes they want to make it relevant to local audiences.
With that in mind, the Unseam'd Shakespeare Company is creating two versions: a more family-friendly PG-13 version for 2 and 8 p.m. performances and a more-adult-oriented R version for 10:30 p.m. shows.
It's an opportunity for the actors to make use of all those comedic moments that arise out of rehearsal and improvisation that get discarded because they're a little too outrageous.
“Now we can put them into the 10:30 show,” Kirtland says. “It's still going to be the same show but with something a little cheeky, to get in the younger crowd.”
Attracting a younger, wider audience was one of the motivating factors behind doing a show in February with a late-night option, Kirtland says.
Traditionally, the Unseam'd Shakespeare Company has performed in the summer. But that meant the company missed out on the area's many college-aged actors and audience members who had left for the summer.
“When Shakespeare is in (your) company's name, a lot of people shy away from you,” Kirtland says. “This may attract a different audience, a younger audience you don't get in the summer.”
Alice T. Carter is the theater critic for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Clues to Chief Justice John Roberts’ thinking on new ObamaCare case
- For Steelers, a fight to finish for playoff berth
- Pirates enter Plan B with Martin off market
- Eagle Scout project gives Knoch High Stadium press box a face-lift
- Starkey: No explaining Steelers, AFC North
- Small retailers at intersection of social networks, foot traffic
- Islanders outwork Penguins to sweep back-to-back meetings
- Allegheny County buck could prove to be state’s largest ever taken
- Mears savors success, credits legendary Lange for guidance, inspiration
- Allegheny County adoption event joins 40 children with families
- For Pitt men’s basketball team, trouble in paradise