The Complete Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged)

The cast calls Sr. Margaret Gannon, IHM to the stage to play the part of Ophelia in “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged.” Photo credit Robert Hannon.

Lisa Piccolo
Peace& Justice Editor

“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged” came to Marywood University November 3-6. Performed by six players, Nathan Bradley, Samantha Eyler, Erin McMahon, Connor McMyne, Marie Philbin, and Coty Soltus, the show dazzled and amazed audiences every night. With these six players up to the challenge, they skillfully executed all of Shakespeare’s plays into one performance.

“The Complete Works” started out with a staged break up of two of the actors, Connor McMyne and Marie Philbin, which added a heap of laughs to the show. With an introduction to each of the players, they called themselves, “The Pumpkin Muffin Shakespearean Theatrical Review,” and then went on to the rest of the show.

Starting with a brief biography of Shakespeare, given by Erin McMahon, and moving on to “Romeo and Juliet,” each of the plays was done in a modern and compressed style. For example, “Titus Andronicus” was turned into a cooking show. A moderately funny view of this dark tragedy, Coty Soltus portrayed the character well. The comedies were reduced to one play, the histories a football game, and the tragedies were interspersed.

Around intermission, the players realized that they had done all of the plays but one, “Hamlet”, which Marie Philbin did not want to do. Running out of the auditorium, with McMyne following closely, the players were at a stand still. They called for a ten-minute intermission. The sonnets were mentioned briefly after intermission, during which Philbin and McMyne returned. “Hamlet” was produced, and the rest of the show went off without a hitch.

This play was performed very well. The set design, including big books of “Titus Andronicus”, “Julius Caesar”, “Hamlet”, “Romeo and Juliet”, and “Antony and Cleopatra”, was well thought out and was used properly through out the show. All of the actors of this show were at their best, and never tired of what they were doing. The doubling of parts on each of the plays was effectively thought out and well done, leaving the audience thrilled. The players kept the audience on their toes, with the actors coming into the audience and interacting them in a well-executed way. Bradley was the main narrator of the play, and effectively gave credit to Shakespeare. A memorable moment of the show with him is him holding up the Library book of Shakespeare and stroking it, showing his love for the plays.

This play had something for everyone and the audience left happy. Not only was the audience engaged, but there was also some chance for participation. During “Hamlet”, the actors picked someone from the audience to be Ophelia, her ego to run in front of her, the id, members of the audience saying “Maybe, Maybe Not”, and her super ego, shouting “Get thee to a nunnery,” “paint an inch thick,” and “Cut the Crap, Hamlet. My Biological Clock is ticking, and I want babies now!” trying to make Ophelia scream. This made the audience part of the show, which demonstrates a pleasing play.

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