NEPA Scene Staff

Comedic ‘Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)’ plays in Swoyersville Oct. 21-30

Comedic ‘Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)’ plays in Swoyersville Oct. 21-30
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From a press release:

The Music Box Dinner Playhouse in Swoyersville will present London’s longest running comedy, “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),” beginning next Friday, Oct. 21 and running through Sunday, Oct. 30.

The show by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield is a fast-paced and physical comedy that features William Shakespeare’s 37 plays performed by three actors.

“My approach to this show was, of course, to entertain, but on a deeper level, to show the varying attitudes toward Shakespeare,” said director Amanda Merrill.

“In the character of Jess [played by Chris Laundry], we see the scholar of the past; in Daniel [played by Jessica Werbin], the modern approach of looking at the bard from all angles and genders; and lastly Adam [played by John Beppler], the younger generation who barely understands the bard but strives to connect him to the world of modern technology.”

Merrill, of Scranton, hopes to instill her love for Shakespeare in everyone who attends the show. She also hopes to give audience members a show that will keep them laughing for weeks.

Audience members need not be fans – or even familiar with – Shakespeare’s works to enjoy the show, however. Laundry, of Wilkes-Barre, admits he’s never been an avid Shakespeare aficionado, but this show has been on his “bucket list” as an actor.

“I did get to perform in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ so this is just the cherry on top of the Shakespeare sundae,” Laundry said. “[The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)] is a hysterical play, and even if you don’t know Shakespeare, you are bound to laugh.”

The show has also been on the bucket list of Beppler, Laundry’s castmate.

“Ever since I first saw this show my freshman year of high school, I’ve loved it wholeheartedly,” said Beppler, of Larksville. “And not only has the show always been on my wish list, but the specific part of Adam is one of my super top bucket list roles to play.”

The modern take on the show is designed to pull in audience members. No two shows are likely to be the same, as the actors are encouraged to deviate from the script and improvise with pop culture references. This makes rehearsing the show a challenging – but fun – feat.

“If the pacing falls flat, many of the jokes risk falling flat,” Beppler explained, adding that in addition to learning lines, remembering blocking, and adding in props, establishing chemistry between the actors is crucial.

That chemistry is something that Werbin particular enjoys.

“My favorite part [of the show] is working with these two wonderful actors… but my favorite role is Romeo,” said Werbin, of West Pittston. “I love being able to play such a variety of iconic characters.”

It’s not just the on-stage actors that make the show great, Merrill said. Audience members are expected to participate at certain points in the show.

“This show really is about making Shakespeare fun and exciting so our audience will really be brought into our crazy world for a fun ride,” Merrill continued. “You really will see all of Shakespeare’s work in the craziest way ever – so expect anything and everything.”

“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” opens at the Music Box Dinner Playhouse (196 Hughes St., Swoyersville) on Friday, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. and continues on Oct. 22, 28, and 29. Special Sunday matinee performances will be held at 3 p.m. on Oct. 23 and 30. For all shows, audience members have the option of purchasing a dinner and show ticket or a “show only” ticket.

Doors open at 6 p.m., and the meal begins at 6:30 p.m. For matinees, doors open at 1 p.m., with the meal beginning at 1:30 p.m. Dinner tickets must be purchased in advance.

Show only tickets for “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” are $18. Buffet dinner and show tickets are $35. Both can be purchased by calling the Music Box box office at 570-283-2195. Additional ticket information is available at