Cultural Arts Theatre’s abridged ‘Shakespeare’ not short on laughs


Savannah's Cultural Arts Theatre offers an antidote for the post-holiday blues with their comedic spoof,
Savannah’s Cultural Arts Theatre offers an antidote for the post-holiday blues with their comedic spoof, “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),” coming to the Black Box at S.P.A.C.E. in January. [L-R: Darwin Hull, Ryan McCurdy, and Phil Keening].

The City of Savannah’s Cultural Arts Theatre will stage its winter production, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, (Abridged), Jan. 16, 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25 in the Black Box at S.P.A.C.E., located at 9 W. Henry St.

Originally written by William Shakespeare and adapted by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Borgeson of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, this irreverent, fast-paced romp takes the audience on a roller coaster ride through the Bard’s 37 plays in 97 minutes. Initially staged in 1987, the play was London’s longest-running comedy (at nine years). It was praised by the Los Angeles Times as “wildly funny,” and lauded by the Montreal Gazette as “the funniest show you are likely to see in your lifetime.”

Directed by Ellie Pyle, the City’s new Performing Arts Coordinator, the show features Phil Keeling, Darwin Hull and Ryan McCurdy as — most hilariously — themselves. The three characters change pitch, costume, personality and even gender at dizzying speeds, as they weave together snippets of Shakespeare’s works into a riotously cohesive production.

Look for side-splitting parodies of Romeo and Juliet, Titus Andronicus, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Ceasar and more. The production also includes a self-proclaimed “world-record” reduction of Hamlet, served up in just 43 seconds.

“This play makes the bold statement that Shakespeare was both the greatest playwright of the English language and — occasionally — a total hack,” Pyle commented. “Fortunately, this allows us to find the hilarity in the masterpieces and the really bad plays alike, whether you’ve read everything Shakespeare ever wrote or think Hamlet is just ‘a Mel Gibson movie’.”

S.P.A.C.E. is located at 9 West Henry St. Performances will take place Jan. 16, 17, 23 and 24 at 8 p.m. and Jan. 18 and 25 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 general admission; $7 seniors and students. This production contains mature themes and humor. Audience discretion advised. Tickets go on sale January 2, 2009.

For reservations and information, contact 912- 651-6783 or visit www.savannahga.gov/arts.

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