The Professional Theatre at Southern Utah University

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Characters: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

Characters: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

It would be impossible to list and describe all the characters in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged). Afterall, three actors portray the characters in all thirty-seven of Shakespeare’s plays in about ninety minutes!

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) was first performed by the authors (Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Borgeson) on June 19, 1987. The three performers used their own first names. They advise actors in all subsequent performances to substitute their own names for “Adam,” “Jess,” and “Daniel.”

The script further specifies which Shakespeare character each actor is portraying, but there are far too many to list! Knowledge about Shakespeare's works is helpful, but not necessary. All that’s really necessary is “a willing suspension of disbelief” and the ability to not take Shakespeare too seriously, as you laugh at him, his characters, the actors, and (sometimes) yourself.

These “plays within a play” hearken to Shakespeare’s own style, sometimes referred to as metatheatricalism, meaning “going beyond theatricality.” This means that unlike most modern plays, the actors interact with the audience throughout the play.

While each performance is presented as an “unprecedented” event and contains moments of improvisation, each actor is, in fact, well rehearsed, tied to a script, and portraying a character within the arc of the story being told.