MERIDEN — The latest theatrical production by Castle Craig Players brings to the stage all of Shakespeare’s plays in one show, resulting in a comedic mashup of dozens of classic works.
"The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)" is a 90-minute comedy in which three actors take on some of the 1,122 roles in Shakespeare’s 37 comedies, histories and tragedies.
The show opens Friday and runs through March 9.
The actors — Bobby Schultz, Griffin Kulp and Ian Galligan — are all Castle Craig Players alumni.
Meg Ryan and Adam Plumley, the stage management team, assist with the dozens of costume changes, along with wigs and props.
With each actor taking on about 15 roles in two acts, there is a lot of work backstage.
“They’re hugely important,” said director Melanie Del Sole. “It’s like a whole other show on the other side of the wall.”
The play covers the well-known, like “Romeo and Juliet,” to the obscure, like “Titus Andronicus.”
It incorporates drag, reviving the Elizabethan-era theater tradition of men playing women.
“I think it’s just the Monty Python-esque, ‘Saturday Night Live’ style of this show,” said Galligan, who plays Juliet, Ophelia and Cleopatra, reflecting on the show’s appeal.
The play exaggerates the Shakespearean characters and plots, presenting them in a way that appeals to those who aren’t familiar with The Bard.
“We have talked about doing this show for a long time,” Del Sole said. “You needed the right group of people, definitely, because it’s very wordy. It’s this constant changing from one character to another, and we tried to keep it as free-flowing creatively as possible.”
The actors said they hoped the audience has a fun night, in the spirit of the original audiences at the Globe Theatre.
“I don’t want them thinking, I just want them laughing,” Schultz said.
Kulp feels sometimes people are pushed away from Shakespeare because it’s treated so seriously.
“When you really break it down, he was very immature in his writing,” Kulp said. “He wrote all these plays for audiences who were drinking and being rowdy the whole time.”
“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)" runs from Feb. 22 to March 9, at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, with a special Thursday performance at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 28, at the Almira F. Stephan Memorial Playhouse, 59 W. Main St.
It is presented cabaret-style with table seating, patrons are invited to bring their own food and drinks.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for seniors age 65 and older. Tickets may be purchased online at www.CastleCraig.org or by calling 1-800-838-3006.
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