Elizabeth Vair Campus Event Commentary: Reduced Shakespeare Company

The Reduced Shakespeare Company was an enjoyable experience that explored the literary works of Shakespeare in an abbreviated and comedic fashion. This was interesting to me as, in school, Shakespeare’s plays are framed as intellectual works that should be studied with an intellectual lens. However, the Reduced Shakespeare Company showed how, in a modern world, our forms of education can be varied. Through short and quirky acts, they successfully abbreviated all of Shakespeare’s plays, and also managed to teach the audience the most basic plots of otherwise very complicated and convoluted plays such as Hamlet and Othello. In today’s society, we are receiving information at unprecedented speeds due to social media and the internet. The Reduced Shakespeare Company was founded in 1981 when the flow of information was suddenly increased due to mass-produced newsprints, and later, the introduction of the internet. Due to our constant exposure to a continual flow of information, our attention spans have shortened, and we are only captivated by short bursts of enthralling details. Therefore, studying a Shakespearan play in a classroom setting for several weeks with annotations of text may not be the most productive method of teaching Shakespeare. Instead, a 97-minute play introducing the most basic concepts of each of Shakespeare’s works offers an almost surefire way to pique the interest of an individual. Once their interest is piqued, then they have the motivation necessary to start what may otherwise be considered a daunting literary masterpiece that would involve hours of focused attention. 

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