All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts;
His acts being seven ages.
Another great evening from the unscripted series delivered by the hilarious boys and girls of the Impro Theatre and Combined Artform. Their style is uniquely funny the kind that make your sides ache from so much hard laughter. Nothing is scripted, hence the unscripted part and everyone, cast and audience, have a raucous good time. Previously, both companies brought forth Jane Austen Unscripted, Sondheim Unscripted and Tennessee Williams Unscripted, bringing the Bard to life was just anther rip roaring trip into hystericsville.
Once again, the audience throws out a word or certain phrase in where the cast works around it. This time company actor and director Dan O’Connor choose the word “tulip” and runs with it. He plays a plethora of roles, Lord Marcus, an unnamed servant, Marcus and the Duke of Kent. As the Duke he is supposed to marry Isabella of Spain, played by the wonderful Lisa Frederickson. His soliloquy to the flower doesn’t equal to the heartfelt eloquence of Hamlet’s “To be or not to be”, but it is done with charm and wit and he looks official saying it in wearing a grey suit with an eye-catching red tie. O’Connor’s role and the others get somewhat confusing. You’re not really sure who is who. The great actors realize this faux pas and fix it by telling the puzzled audience what role each actor portrays at the top of second act. This was a sound of relief to the bewildered audience.
The play takes many twists and turns, stops and moving forward and all around lunacy. A most memorable and multi-played character was Floyd Van Buskirk. He starts off as Jack the Woodsman. He and O’Connor go on a 10-minute tirade about their lives teetering in the balance. One time making sense the other times having the audience scratching their heads, silently saying “WTF”.
From beginning to end, Shakespeare Unscripted is a hysterical riot. A combination of the tragedy of Hamlet and the comedy of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is all blended in well cocktail as a tragic-comic surprise. Once again the Impro and Combined Artform put their heads together and created a theatrical masterpiece in both comedy and tragedy. Bring it on!
Shakespeare UnScripted runs Fridays and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 7 p.m. until Sunday, February 14th at the Theatre Asylum, located at 6320 Santa Monica Blvd. Tickets available online at www.plays411.com/shakespeareunscripted