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Reduced Shakespeare

This workshop will allow students explore and understand how and why Shakespeare’s texts are reduced, conflated and repurposed in modern adaptation and performance. This will involve the study and discussion of companies who use Shakespearean reductions as their principal dramatic practice in order to either parody or pay homage to his work and life.

The two-hour workshop will follow this structure: a first half of practical engagement and discussion, followed by Q&A sessions with two of today’s most foremost Shakespearean practitioners.

  • The first hour of the workshop will take in an overview of notable practitioners, such as Charles Marowitz and Tim Crouch, and offer the students the opportunity to reduce their own Shakespearean passage down to its basic principals, in order to either expose under-explored characters more deeply or satirise the original text.
  • The second half will begin with Toby Park of Spymonkey, the internationally renowned physical theatre company whose most recent play, The Complete Deaths, directed by Tim Crouch, condensed all 75 of Shakespeare’s onstage deaths into a single production.The students will be invited to discuss a range of topics, including Symonkey’s approach to reconciling Shakespeare in the context of experimental, physical theatre and why they chose to focus on the theme of death.
  • The final half hour will focus on discussion with Austin Tichenor of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, a Californian three-man comedy troupe. They are most famous for their first play, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), in which three actors attempt to stage the entire canon in 90 minutes. Tichenor recently celebrated their 35th anniversary as a company by co-writing their newest work, William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged), in which he imagined what a lost Shakespearean masterpiece might look like, in which every notable character appears and interacts. Students are invited here to discuss the company’s progression across their history and why particular plays, characters and themes are shown themselves most ripe for reduction, parody and homage.

Wednesday 8th March, 4pm - 6pm, Wolfson Research Exchange, Rooms 1&2.

*Rescheduled to 15th March, same time, same place.*

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