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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

“We don’t have to do it justice”: ETB takes on William Shakespeare

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Out of all the playwrights in the history of the English language, William Shakespeare is by far the most revered, venerated, and cherished. His plays have been performed thousands of times for audiences all over the world. But this week at ETB, directors Sarah Meister and Wilson Josephson are attempting to put on all thirty seven plays in one hilarious ninety minute production: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). In the cast’s words, “we don’t have to do it justice, we just have to do it.”

Sam Chao, Charlotte Foran, and Christian Kreznar form the “Carleton Players”, the dubiously named company performing the show.

Beginning with a fast-paced Romeo and Juliet, the cast shines. Chao and Kreznar’s chemistry is electric as they perform the entire show in around five minutes, while Foran narrates, and the show takes off from there.

Every Shakespeare play is performed in some capacity, with all sixteen comedies condensed into one play—Comedy of Two Well-Measured Gentlemen Lost in the Merry Wives of Venice on a Midsummer’s Twelfth Night in Winter—the histories performed as a football game, and Macbeth performed with stunningly accurate Scottish accents.

The cast has taken some wonderful creative liberties with the show, altering it ever so slightly to fit a Carleton audience, making the show lively and an absolute joy to watch. I liked some of the plays more than others, with Titus Andronicus being my least favorite, and the eager Hamlet standing out (as it should!).

Kreznar plays most of the female characters, wearing exquisite wigs and dresses, and Chao holds the group together as the charismatic male leads, from Romeo to Hamlet. Foran brings her personal work to the stage, sharing her thoughts on Shakespeare’s Apocrypha around half-way through.

The staging is incredibly clever, and Josephson and Meister clearly put considerable thought into piecing the play together, but what I loved about it is the group effort that shines through the production. The actors are as authentic as they are hilarious, and everyone in the audience was having a wonderful time. If you’re looking for a night of fun, casual theater, I urge lovers and haters alike to go see The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) on its last night, at Lil’ Nourse at 7:30pm.


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