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Department of Theatre and Dance

UW Summer Theatre Presents Final Play July 11-15

July 3, 2006 -- The University of Wyoming's Snowy Range Summer Theatre and Dance Festival summer theatre run concludes July 11-15 with the hit comedy "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)."

Nightly performances will be at 7:30 in the Fine Arts Center studio theatre. Tickets cost $10 for the general public, $8 for seniors and $5 for students. For tickets or information call the Fine Arts Center box office at (307) 766-6666 or visit

Leigh Selting, director and UW theatre professor, says the play, which is more Monty Python or Mel Brooks than high art, is not only for Shakespeare aficionados, but also for those less familiar with his works.

"One reason why I wanted to do this show was because the humor really appeals to everyone," says Selting. "It's just this delightful, madcap romp through all of Shakespeare's plays.

"Shakespeare (Abridged)" is a parody that crams Shakespeare's considerable oeuvre into a 90-minute rollercoaster of gags, adlibs, pratfalls, willful misreading and broad burlesque. The play was billed by the Montreal Gazette as "the funniest show you are likely to see in your entire lifetime."

Created by the founding members of The Reduced Shakespeare Company, who are well known for their dynamic, physical acting style, the play began as an improvisational piece on Hamlet. Despite evolving from its roots, the play still draws heavily on ad-lib art.

"What is interesting about 'Shakespeare (Abridged)' is that it's a collaborative show right from the beginning," says Adam Mendelson, festival guest lighting and sound designer from Stephens College in Colombia, Mo. Mendelson notes that typically performers aren't involved in design and designers don't often shape the performance, but this play is different.

"I'm going to be doing design work and creating lighting cues at the same time that the actors are creating their comic bits and improving moments," he says. "It's really exciting to be part of that open way of working; to have that kind of give-and-take with Leigh and the cast."

Selting says he also looks forward to the challenge of producing an improvisational-natured show.

"I'm excited about what will happen during the rehearsal and working with the three actors coming in -- John Mayer, who was already with us for 'Headset' this summer, and UW alumni Jimmie Galaites and Garrett Neergaard, both of whom are working actors.

"This show is just a perfect end to our summer theatre season, in terms of an offering the whole family can enjoy," he concludes.

Posted on Monday, July 03, 2006

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