Since its pass-the-hat origins in 1981, the Reduced Shakespeare Company has created ten world-renowned stage shows, two television specials, several failed TV pilots, and numerous radio pieces, all of which have been performed, seen, and heard the world over. The company’s itinerary has included stops off-Broadway, at the White House, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, London’s West End, Seattle Repertory Theatre, American Repertory Theatre and Montreal’s famed Just For Laughs Festival, as well as performances in Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Malta, Singapore and Bermuda, plus countless civic and university venues throughout the USA, the UK, and Europe.
In 2016, in honor of the company’s 35th anniversary and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the RSC premieres its tenth stage show, William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged), at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington DC. In 2013 the “Bad Boys of Abridgment” unveiled The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) –to critical and commercial acclaim at both Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and Merrimack Repertory Theatre, as well as on national tours of the the USA and UK. The Complete World of Sports (abridged)opened in 2010 at Merrimack Rep and after touring the USA and UK, ran at the Arts Theatre in London during the 2012 London Olympics. In 2011 came the world premiere of The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged)which became Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s best-selling holiday show ever, and the third-best-selling show in MRT’s history and also enjoyed a successful run at San Diego Repertory Theatre as well as multiple tours across the USA.
Austin Tichenor is directing Twelfth Night at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company this fall, and it turns out he’s almost the only one at Cincy Shakes or the RSC who’s never worked on it before! Fortunately, RSC members Teddy Spencer, Jerry Kernion, and Dominic Conti, plus Chicago actress and professor of acting at Northwestern University Cindy Gold, are able to give him tips and insights into the play and its characters because they’ve all done Twelfth Night multiple times. Featuring discussions of the text, Shakespeare’s authorial intent, the driving force that is Maria, the difficulty of Malvolio, spectacular insight into Sir Toby Belch, the value of dumb shows and fencing, the way to dress Sir Andrew, excellent high-kicking, and the wonder of having a well-oiled Orsino. (Length 23:47)
Nick Sandys is the artistic director of Chicago’s Remy Bumppo Theatre and is currently playing both Victor Frankenstein and the Creature in the Nick Dear adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic novel, which opens this week and runs through November 17, 2018, now also celebrating its 200th anniversary (he alternates roles with Greg Matthew Anderson). Nick talks about the power of this tale of monstrousness and how it fits into Remy Bumppo’s mission of great language driving great ideas. Featuring ways in which Shelley’s novel continues ideas expressed by Shakespeare in The Tempest, early modern analogues to rap battles, how one can highlight (and quite possibly confuse) certain issues, the precision with which one handles cultural negotiation, how the use of language — even in Shakespeare — tells you how a scene must be staged, how literature can also be a verb, how monsters are not born but made, and how one addresses the ultimate question: Who, really, is the monster? A star is shorn! (Length 22:42)
Christopher Luscombe, who’s directed in London’s West End, at Shakespeare’s Globe, and for the ‘other RSC’ (the Royal Shakespeare Company), now directs Nell Gwynn, a charming new comedy with music about the famous (or infamous) 17th Century actress now having its world premiere at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Also an alumnus of the Cambridge Footlights, Chris discusses Nell the play, Nell the actress, and Nell the production. Featuring a wonderful tribute to Chicago actors, the value of being authentically English, the absolute treat of continuing to work on a play over several years, the advantage of embracing contradictions, the great thing about not being afraid of comedy, and the importance of starting from scratch every time. (Length 18:21)
William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged), written by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, has now been published in both the United States by Broadway Play Publishing and Great Britain by Josef Weinberger and is available for licensing worldwide. Read about its creation and “discovery” on the Shakespeare & BeyondContinue reading
The Reduced Shakespeare Company just unveiled a new promotional video for its annual holiday hit The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged). Produced and edited by Tim Neighbors of Invisible Harness, the short video was shot December 22, 2017 at the La Mirada Center for the Arts in southern California and features performers Michael Faulkner, Reed Martin, and Dan Saski. Watch below — it’ll make your spirits bright!
On September 24, 2017, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon hosted illustrator Jennie Maizels and co-author Austin Tichenor at a special event celebrating the publication of their new book Pop-Up Shakespeare. Jennie created wonderful props and costumes for Austin to wear while reading excerpts, and for kids in the audience toContinue reading