Shakin’ in their briefs
That’s the premise of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s new touring show, “Shakespeare in Briefs,” which will be presented at the Vilar Center this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Nothing is sacred, especially not the works that make up a major portion of theater’s foundation. “King Lear,” “MacBeth,” “Ophelia,” “Hamlet,” “Romeo,” “Richard III” – they’ve probably never been seen quite like this before. The four actors plus their fearless director, John Dennis, wrote the script in ad-lib fashion over the past few months.
“It’s a bit difficult to describe,” said Anthony Marble, actor. “There are a lot of top 10 lists, you know, top 10 suicides, top 10 missing mothers. It evolved from there to going to rehearsal and trying to make each other laugh.”
During the graveside service, each character offers up some of his favorite scenes or characters, as well as the occasional seemingly (and perhaps actually) random tie-in. Each plays a variety of characters – women, men, changeling boys, the works.
“And we’re all master swordsmen,” said Marble.
There are plenty of unrequited love and dead bodies to go around. Some of the play’s birthing process naturally carries over into the performance, so there’s always something a little different each time.
“The nature of a work like this has to keep the improvisational feel,” said Tony Molina Jr., actor. “It has to keep moving and changing. And what we do also depends on the audience. Some audiences will start laughing right away, and others have to be warmed up gently.”
Thus far their audiences have ranged from students to professors, festival regulars to drop-ins.
“Some people think Shakespeare should only be done in tights,” said Marble. “Others are passing out because they’re laughing so hard.”
In addition to the expected cast of characters (including Puck the crazed mime), there are cameos straight out of pop culture, such as Edith and Archie Bunker and Alfred Hitchcock.
According to Marble and Molina, one of the reasons the play is successful is they’re all friends.
“It’s a lot of fun to work with your cohorts,” said Molina.
“Truthfully, it’s just the four of us guys working together with the director,” said Marble. “It would be hard to do with anyone else. But since we’ve all worked together before, we really had the freedom to throw anything out there.”
Anything goes. For more information on the performance contact the Vilar Center at http://www.vilarcenter.org or call the Box Office at 845-TIXS.
Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.