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Desert Foothills Theater kicks off season with Shakespeare parody

9/2/2015

SCOTTSDALE – Get ready for some Shakespearean wit! Desert Foothills Theater, a division of the Foothills Community Foundation, is kicking off its 41st season with an entertaining parody, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged (Revised), set for Sept. 10-Sept. 20 at the Foothills Community Foundation Holland Community Center, 34250 N. 60th Street, in North Scottsdale.

Written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield, the DFT production is directed by Eric Schoen, a Phoenix resident, who is best known for his work with the non-profit Class 6 Theatre. In this side-splitting, sonnet-fracturing parody, three actors use comedy and improvisation to perform shortened forms of several of Shakespeare’s plays.

The cast features three seasoned actors: Ari DeVriend as Adam, Bradley Beamon as Daniel, and Ryan Wentzel as Jess. But while it may seem easy to produce a show with just three actors, many factors create challenges, according to Schoen, whose hope is to produce a show with lots of lively audience interaction.

“Contrary to what people may think, this show comes with lots of challenges, including a dense, wordy, super-fast-paced script that requires comic timing, linguistic dexterity, and facility with actual Shakespeare – that’s a tall order for any actor,” Schoen said. “In addition, we’ll be in a very intimate setting, which can be disconcerting if you're not used to it.”

 While many theatre companies tend to modernize productions with new approaches, Schoen does not see the need for that. “Since this show has been highly successful and world-famous for 30 years, I don't see the need to superimpose another concept on top of it. I think that would actually have a deleterious effect. The only somewhat new twist is that one of our cast members is a woman. This will give some fun turns that you normally don't get, but won't impact the overall humor of the piece,” he said.

Come ready to laugh hard and interact with the cast members.

“The entire play is done from a place of joy and generosity, and I think we can all use some of that in our lives,” Schoen said. “We’ll also play to the actors' strengths. This is a play that allows for that, and I'm lucky in that I have a cast of three energetic, fearless actors. The rest will depend on what the audience wants from their experience.”

DFT’s The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged (Revised) is produced through special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets range from $26 to $32.50 for adults and $16 to $21 for youth and students. Group sale discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. Visit www.dftheater.org or call (480) 488-1981 for details.