​The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) [Revised]

Article by Georgia, Mexico, UWCD'17.

On the 18-20 May the UWC Dilijan Black Box was full of Shakespeare, good music, laughter and joy because of its sold-out theatre performances.

This year UWC Dilijan Theatre department expanded its activities by increasing the number of performances it put on for the public, by involving both theatre and non-theatre students on the stage and behind the scenes as well as by collaborating with local and international theatre and film stars.

To close the year, Theatre teacher Jason Lasky chose the play “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)[revised]”, which was written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield, and originally produced by the Reduced Shakespeare Company. Last year the cast of the classic staging of “The Winter’s Tale” amounted to about fifteen people. However, this year a cast of only three student-actors presented a parody of all the plays of William Shakespeare performed in a modern, shortened, fast and comical way.

“Participating in this performance was a very educational and also especially a fun experience. During the rehearsals we learned a lot from Jason in terms of standing on stage, talking to a crowd and acting. Every rehearsal was fun to go to and creating the piece was a great thing to do to get your mind off the school for a bit. The three performances were also amazing to do, and I hope everyone that came to see the show enjoyed it”, Koen, The Netherlands, UWCD'19.

It took some time constructing the wooden set, buying light-sabres and fake bloody limbs and a head, memorising a great amount of text and learning how to speak it, finding music, etc. Incidentally, the music was one of main elements of the performance. Kento, Japan, UWCD’19 – keyboard and melodica, Pablo, Spain, UWCD’19 – percussion and Arnur, Kazakhstan, UWCD’18 – electric guitar, and Jovana, Serbia, UWCD’19 and Julia, Poland, UWCD’19 – vocals, contributed to the show with blues, rock, disco tunes and were steering the whole show along.

Finally, when it was presented, this amazing performance brought the house down hilariously during its weekend run, attracting a huge audience for each show.

According to the students who were cast in the play – Daniel, Denmark, UWCD’19, Koen, the Netherlands, UWCD’19 and Ash, India, UWCD’18, one of the most difficult yet enjoyable parts of it was the fact that they had to constantly interact with the audience. They made them scream, they asked them questions, they sat within the audience, and much more, resulting in each performance being completely unique, due to the reliance on the improvisation of the performers and the reception of the viewers.

“It was a personal highlight of the year to see the Shakespeare performance, which has been simmering in my mind for the last five years, realised and celebrated by the most energetic audiences I have ever witnessed”, Jason.

The UWC Dilijan staging of “The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) [Revised]” was a first for Armenia and Jason plans to go with it on tour around the country.