25 October 2010

Reduced Shakspeare Company

After witnessing William Shatner rap Marc Anthony's funeral speech for Julius Caesar, I thought I'd seen everything. A related video led me to the Reduced Shakespeare Company's "Othello Rap", and then to this comic abridged performance of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliette, which makes one of English literature's great tragedies a laugh act. Part of this stems from their delivery of the lines -- flavoring Shakespeare's elegant tongue with some modern English, and reacting to odd turns of phrase -- but much of the humor is physical. The entire play is presented by two people (not including a narrator), and they duck behind the background scenery to quickly change parts. They gesticulate wildly and dance about, and break the fourth wall with gusto.

I laughed throughout, and am now engrossed in their version of Hamlet.

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