published Friday, June 29th, 2012

Shakespeare lite in Athens


* What: "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (Revised)."

* When: 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday.

* Where: The Art Center, 320 N. White St., Athens, Tenn.

* Admission: $5 (available at the door only).

* Phone: 423-745-8781.

A comedy that parodies the best of The Bard is playing at The Arts Center in Athens, Tenn.

Athens Community Theater is presenting "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (Revised)" in performances at 7:30 tonight and Saturday in the center's Sue E. Trotter Theater.

Also known as "The Compleat Wrks of Willm Shkspr (Abridged)," the production presents Shakespeare's plays in shortened form by only three actors. The actors speak directly to the audience during much of the play, and audience participation is encouraged. References to pop culture as well as local people and places are interspersed with Shakespeare's verse.

As founding members of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, authors Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield first performed the play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1987. Following that it played the Criterion Theatre in London for a record-breaking nine years. It has become one of the world's most popular shows, performed in a variety of languages, according to producers.

The show's charm (and comedy) relies on seeing the serious attempt by three novice actors to condense all of Shakespeare's plays into a ridiculously short amount of time, they say.

The ACT production is directed by Trung Phan and stars Scott Rust, Eddie Cockrum and Scott Billings.

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