Seton Hall Theatre Council is ending its season with a performance of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)” directed by junior Bryan Lucas and starring Mark Buryk, Matt Giroveanu, Sally Hourigan, and Rob Huryk.
If the words “Complete Works of William Shakespeare” leave you with an urge to run as far away from the Theatre-in-the-Round as possible, you may want to reconsider. The Theatre Council’s “Complete Works of William Shakespeare” is not your grandmother’s Shakespeare; the play is, in a word, hilarious. The show is a parody of Shakespeare’s collected works which entails all of them being performed by only four actors.
The cast of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” undeniably exhibits the talent Seton Hall Theatre has to offer, but the line between actor and the actual person is blurred in this parody, which frequently offers the audience glimpses into the personalities of the thespians in the costumes and that is what makes this comedy a laugh-out-loud performance. The cast members themselves are extremely funny; they are not just acting.
Director Bryan Lucas explains why he chose this play to end off the season saying, “I think this is a hilarious play, I picked it because it’s so silly and fun and the audience can have fun with the actors — there’s lots of participation in the show.”
“Fun” is undoubtedly a key word behind this show as actress Sally Hourigan said that she thinks this show will appeal to all SHU students.
“The play is a really good way for students to be exposed to Shakespeare in a humorous light that’s not so rigid—it makes Shakespeare fun for them,” she said.
As an audience member, you definitely will not be sitting idly by. There is constant interaction between the audience and the cast to such an extent that you will feel as if you’re in the play yourself, which enables audience members to have almost as much fun as the cast is, which is something actor Mark Buryk can attest to.
“This is probably one of the most fun things I’ve done all year,” he said. “The show is a blast.”
The play was originally written by the Reduced Shakespeare Company and was first performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1987 and then at the Criterion Theater in London where it ran for an impressive nine years. After seeing the show, it is unsurprising that the original production had such a long run because the play is filled with so much life and energy.
“The show is very energetic, as an actor, you have to put all of yourself into it,” senior Rob Huryk said. “It demands a lot of energy and enthusiasm, but that’s why people like it.”
The production that the Theatre Council is running this week is by no means a mere reproduction of the 1987 play. However, a significant portion of the script was rewritten by Lucas and the cast, which makes the show even more relevant and entertaining to college students.
Lucas said that the original playwrights encouraged performers to make the show their own and that is precisely what the theatre council has done. It is fun for the audience to know that they are watching a unique performance that’s never been done in quite the same way before — you’re not watching the same regurgitation of a play that’s been done in countless universities across the country, but rather, you’re seeing a performance that is unique to Seton Hall University.
For seasoned patrons of SHU Theatre, “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” does not disappoint when compared to other productions put on during the 2009-2010 season. Matt Giroveanu points out that, “If you liked ‘Love, Sex, and the IRS’ where I dressed up like one woman, you’ll like this show where I dress up like four.”
Even if you’re new to the plays Seton Hall puts on, “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” is a great place to get acquainted with SHU’s theatrical side. The play will be performed in the University Center’s Theatre-in-the-Round on May 6 at 8:30 p.m. and May 7 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Emily Lake can be reached at email@example.com.