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University Theatre Season Starts with “The Complete Works of Shakespeare”

MU Theatre presents: “The Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged) (revised) (again).”

Millersville University theater-goers will get a crash course in William Shakespeare this spring. University Theatre is producing “The Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged) (revised) (again),” a play which condenses all of The Bard’s 37 plays in 97 minutes.

hoto from the rehearsal of the Complete Works of Shakespeare at Millersville University.
Photo from the rehearsal of “The Complete Works of Shakespeare” at Millersville University.

Performances run Thursday, Feb. 22-24, and Feb. 29-March 2. The performances will take place at Rafters Theatre in Dutcher Hall from 7 – 9 p.m. This year’s production will have a cast of only six actors. Jonathan Strayer, director of dramatics and assistant professor, says while the cast of actors is only six, there are typically 40-50 people working on productions, without whom there would be no production.

Strayer says this production came together with help from the plethora of students stemming from all different backgrounds and majors, such as theatre and entertainment technology majors, music, education, biotech, English and many more.

“The students are the highlight of this production. The performance ensemble has over 100 hours of rehearsal and the production team has put in countless hours of technical work on this productionWith so many moving parts, teams and individuals our students are the highlight of this project,says Strayer.  

Faculty and staff have also worked on the production, including Strayer, production manager Harry Schueren and assistant professor Adam Boyer.

Strayer’s inspiration for this year’s production stemmed from the fact that this is the “Year of Shakespeare” at MU Theater. 2023 marked the 400th anniversary of the First Folio, a remarkable publication which includes the plays generally thought to be written by William ShakespeareAccording to the Folger Library, out of the 36 plays included in the First Folio, 18 had never been published before including The Comedy of Errors, Cymbeline, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night.’”

He continues, “Without the First Folio these plays might have been lost forever. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) (revised) (again) is an homage to these immortalized plays that Shakespeare disciples love and anti-Shakespeare activists love to hateComplete Works is a love letter written for anyone who loves or hates Shakespeare – showcasing both the beauty and the beast of the Bard’s oeuvre in a hilarious, over-the-top performance.”

Although, nothing comes without a challenge. “The most challenging part of every production is pulling all of the various elements together into a cohesive production.  Bringing the actors, props, costumes, lights, sounds and set together requires a great amount of collaboration on the part of each person involved,says Strayer.   

“The rehearsals and design process for this production started in December. As I mentioned before, each production department has put in countless hours or intricate work to bring their specific elements to the stage so we can pull them all together into one cohesive production,” he continues.  

Strayer also notes, “Live theatre is at its core a unique shared human experience.  Because this play is an over-the-top comedy, my hope is that audiences experience a joyous, shared experience – perhaps over literary material like Shakespeare that is often perceived as stuffy and antiquated.”  

Tickets are now available for “The Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged) (revised) (again). Click here for more information.

 

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