26 May 2009

Wine Soaked Review: Complete Works of Shakespeare Reduced

The following was written after several glasses of red wine but I am far too lazy to re-work it in anyway :) Enjoy!

Complete Works of Shakespeare Reduced: As seen on DVD, courtesy of Netflix.

The whole reason I started a blog, though so far this hasn't been obvious, is to write about plays or creative experiences that really drive me, inspire me and make me fully appreciate why I am in love with the arts, theatre in particular.

The Reduced Shakespeare Company DVD has motivated me to write as I originally intended, about beautiful, artistic pieces of art. I loved this DVD. How can I not love something where someone just throws their whole being into a performance? It's a beautiful thing, my dears.

In case you're unaware of this show, it's a live action theatre show that they recorded onto DVD for your viewing pleasure. And thank God they did, so you know you can go rent it and be entertained...okay...go rent now...go ahead, I'll wait.

An hour and a half show of all Shakespeare's works condensed down is the basis. I can tell straight off the bat that improv skills are very much needed in the performance as there is much audience interaction involved.

I place a very high value on improv skills. I took a class on it once, cherished the experience really, because it showed me just how difficult it can be when working with a live audience. I think everyone should take an improv class because it really helps you think on your feet, a necessity in life really that I only discovered when in my late teens (before that I lived in a very protected fantasy world. When hurt or affected by others I escaped there instead of dealing with life in front of me. Who knew I was such an actress in the making*).

Watching this particular performance really helped me admire the physicality that went into every aspect of the performance. I once saw a production of Midsummer Night's Dream put on at SUNY Brockport and was blown away by the same physicality of the character Helena. the actress who played her was fit enough to run around stage, jumping and hanging onto Demetrius. I think because the actress and other actors were so able to perform the role using their whole body it just drew the audience into the story and made understanding Shakespeare that much easier. It just sucked you in, just like in "Reduced Shakespeare".

This is something I want to work on as an actress. Fine tuning my body so its at a place where I'm comfortable throwing the physicality of a character around. It's a beautiful thing.

Wow. I think I just outed myself as a major theatre nerd. But don't judge me too harshly on this. Sometime I read very long books and I own some nice shoes, too.

Nerd out---- xx.

*Though that is not to say that acting involves only fantasy life and a hearty disregard for the real. Oh no, I truly believe that both real life and fantasy life need to balance out in a performance on stage. Make sense? No?... Okay, never mind....

P.S. If you watch this, I totally cried when they were using the audience to explain the inner turmoil and the complexity that is Ophelia. Could have been the wine....yeah, we'll just say it was the wine....

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