By Amanda Reed
PC Staff Writer
The Jesters’ Guild production of “The Complete Works of Shakespeare [Abridged]”: is essentially a bunch of theatre-appreciating friends using comedy to undermine and pay homage to one of the most world’s most prolific playwrights.
David and Derek Lynch, Jim Falba and Aaron Beilstein perform shortened versions of Shakespearean mammoths like “Titus Andronicus,” “MacBeth” and “Hamlet,” fighting with golf clubs while wearing kilts and hosting a cooking show — all while speaking some of the Bard’s most famous lines.
“The Complete Works of Shakespeare [Abridged]” was written in 1987 by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, condensing more than 30 works of Shakespeare into an hour and a half. Derek and David Lynch, who are brothers, producers and actors in the show, first learned about it in college during a Shakespeare and playwriting class at Westminster College. Both Lynch brothers were English majors, but active in the theater scene, writing, directing and acting in plays.
The Complete Works of Shakespeare [Abridged]. 3 p.m., July 15 and 22. 7 p.m., July 16-21. The Glitterbox Theater, 400 Melwood Ave., North Oakland. $15 online, $20 at door. tinyurl.com/jesterspeare
Four years ago, when deciding what show to put on as an experiment to see if they could produce a show, their choice was obvious. A year after forming their theater company, The Jesters’ Guild, the brothers decided to revisit it.
They decided to stage it at the Glitterbox Theater in North Oakland, using props they already owned and costumes from friends in order to bring the work from page to stage.
The show heavily relies on audience participation and improvisation, making the intimate space a perfect match for the production.
“You get to feel like you’re sort of friends with the cast a bit. You share that experience,” David Lynch said.
None of the lines in the show are paraphrased from Shakespeare’s original text, but, thanks to its inherently silly nature and room for improvisation, the actors, who play themselves in the show, can add bits of their own personality to Shakespeare’s original characters.
“There are lines in the show but you sort of make it your own. You sort of step into that character,” Falba said. “You become that voice or idea of that role.”
And despite using direct lines from Shakespeare’s plays it’s easy for any audience to understand, according to Derek Lynch.
“It is very accessible to everyone, but it also kind of introduces you to that and shows you, even if you haven’t studied old English in college, you’re going to understand it if you go watch it.” Derek Lynch said. “It’s a good bridge.”
Even the comedy is easy to enjoy, says Falba.
“It’s a very smart show, but it’s not a show that’s stuffy or full of itself,” Falba said. “It’s a smart show that’s really funny and engaging and active.”