Jennifer Johnson, Jeremy Clubb (center) and Tom Cavanaugh (right) run through the works of Shakespeare at a blistering pace in The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged). The play runs two weekends and is directed by Laura Reid. Submitted photo
Shakespeare is back in Keizer this summer. A whole lot of Shakespeare.
Keizer Homegrown Theatre (KHT)’s annual Shakespeare in the Park was nixed for the second year in a row due to COVID-19.
Instead, a cast of three will perform The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at the company’s theatre in the Keizer Cultural Center. Performances began July 8 and will run Friday and Saturday, July 9 and 10 and again next week, Thursday-Saturday, July 15-17.
The show is a series of parodies of 37 Shakespeare plays, with all of them comically shortened by three actors. For example, Titus Andronicus is presented as a cooking show. Other shows that get skewered include Othello, Romeo and Juliet and q.
Laura Reid, a member of the KHT company and a McNary High School teacher is directing the show, which she laughingly called “a lump of hilarity.” Reid said she has been waiting for years to do this play.
The three actors in the play are Tom Cavanaugh, Jeremy Clubb and Jennifer Johnson. All three have directed other shows, which they all say makes performing this play a collaborative experience, often giving notes to each during rehearsals.
Cavanaugh is the drama teacher at McNary and has directed productions at the school. Clubb directed Keizer Homegrown’s Dog Park, The Musical in 2017. Johnson directed The Pirates of Penzance at another theatre and will make her KHT directorial debut with Steel Magnolias in December.
Clubb is the only veteran Keizer Homegrown actor in the cast. Johnson is making her KHT stage debut with this show. Cavanaugh is also making his stage debut with KHT though he did appear in the company’s Dating in February, which was available only on YouTube.
Though the cast is small each actor takes on multiple characters from the Shakespeare plays showcased. The response was quick when asked to describe the roles they play: Jennifer is the enthusiastic one, Tom is the smart one and Jeremy is the creative one—which was evident during each energetic rehearsal.
The Complete Works of Williams Shakespeare (Abridged) was first performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1987 by its creators Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, founding members of the Reduced Shakespeare Company in London.
The show will be the first inside KHT’s theatre since February 2020. Keizer Homegrown Theatre did not let COVID stop it from performing theatre. It has used Zoom and YouTube to continue to offer theatre. The first in-person show this season was The Revolutionists performed on the patio of the Keizer Cultural Center in June.
Show time for The Complete Works of Williams Shakespeare (Abridged) is 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 9-10 and Thursday-Saturday, July 15-17. Tickets are $15 but admission is free with a presented Oregon Trail Card. Season tickets purchased in 2020 will be honored for this show.
Seating is limited for the show. Visit keizerhomegrowntheatre.org to purchase tickets.