White knuckle ride through Shakespeare

By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on September 15, 2018

WILLIAM Shakespeare’s 37 plays will be performed in 97 minutes in Spectrum Theatre’s latest production, and director Katie Gunning can’t wait to get the show on the road.

The Compleat Wrks of Willm Shkspr (Abridged) will play on November 23, 24, 25 and 30 and on December 1, 2, 7 and 8 for a range of evening and matinee shows.

It will feature three main characters embodying a plethora of Shakespearean characters from across the playwright’s works.

Gunning said one performer will play up to 16 characters in each show.

“It’s a very fun play; it’s very unusual,” she said.

“I’ve done it three times before for my A-levels, uni and for a professional version, and it just makes Shakespeare so much more accessible to people.”

Gunning said this play is different to others performed by Spectrum in the past, as there is a lot of direct audience interaction and actors present as themselves.

“The person will come on and say, “I’m so and so, and I will be performing Shakespeare’s work,” she said.

“There’s a lot of audience participation; there’s characters for pure audience entertainment and there is a lot of knowing looks to the audience as if to say, ‘can you see what I have to work with?’

“It’s really high energy and fast paced.”

Gunning said regardless of whether people like Shakespeare or not, they will enjoy the show.

“There’s a lot of pop cultural references as well as Shakespearean jokes,” she said.

“So, while some jokes will go over 90 per cent of people’s heads because it’s very Shakespeare-specific, there will be a silly joke afterward that everyone will laugh at.”

Gunning said the play is notable for holding the world record for the shortest ever performance of Hamlet, traditionally a three-hour play.

It is performed forwards in 43 seconds, and performed backwards in 42 seconds.

Tickets for The Compleat Wrks of Willm Shkspr (Abridged) will be selling through Paperbark Merchants, so keep an eye on the Spectrum Theatre Facebook page and paperbarks.com.au for the ticket release date.