Campus Event #3- Jamie Aciukewicz The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s Failed Attempt to Condense

I really did not like the Reduced Shakespeare Company abridged version of all of Shakespeare’s plays. I was really interested in examining what they chose to include and not include in Shakespeare’s work. The results were disappointing, to say the least. Boiling down 37 full length plays into 97 minutes is a very difficult task, and one that I feel like cannot do justice to the work of Shakespeare. Moreover, most of the words said throughout the performance were not Shakespeare’s at all; the company decided to use their own words much more often than Shakespeare’s. It appears they were more concerned with getting laughs from the audience as opposed to representing Shakespeare. The plays functioned more as a starting point for their own comedy as opposed to being the focus of the event. Most of their comedy was slapstick humor that I did not really find funny. They also used a few sensitive topics in a joking manner, which in my opinion, was distasteful. If I were tasked with the goal of reducing his plays into a single sitting, I would focus much more on the messages across the works and use his words to convey the themes. However, I think it is impossible to condense so many stories into one narrative effectively. This ties into what Professor Quillen talked about in her lecture when she examined storytelling and the need for people to tell their own story. As humans, we have a duty to listen to these stories and group them together. The Reduced Shakespeare Company set out with an impossible goal and to no surprise, failed.

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