Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Object of Art: Two Minute Shakespeare

  Are Shakespeare's plays too long? Do you wish that there were more comedy, even in the tragedies? Do you actually want more Shakespeare, and wish you could see five or six plays in one night? Well have no Shakes-fear! Two Minute Shakespeare is here!
  Two Minute Shakespeare is a small ensemble (6 actors) that performs Shakespeare's plays in two minutes or less. In years past, we have presented Two Minute Shakespeare as a pre-show entertainment before the Shakespeare On the Green Mainstage productions. Through the generosity of an individual sponsor, we were able to expand Two Minute Shakespeare as we took it On the Road to present a preview at multiple venues before we see it On the Green.

The original idea for Two Minute Shakespeare was conceived by company member Moira Mangiameli, as she wrote and directed the first iterations of the two-minute plays. The idea was to rehearse the condensed version of fourteen of Shakespeare's 38 plays, and present them as a choose-your-own order entertainment for the crowd. (The plays that didn't have two minute versions would conveniently be 'not heard' by the performing ensemble, if ever called for by the audience). 

This year's ensemble was directed by Kim Clark-Kaczmarek as Moira and I added a few more plays to the repertoire. (Previously unwritten King John, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest, The Comedy of Errors, and Titus Andronicus). We rotated some scripts out, so that the group will still work on just 14 plays to have ready for performance. The 2013 Two Minute ensemble features: Michael Conroy, Raydell Cordell III, Clare Jasnowski, Anna Jordan, Steve Krambeck , and Jake Vann. Lauren Akers stage manages, and actually takes part in a few productions while announcing a one sentence plot summary for the audience as various props and costume pieces are gathered for each play by the ensemble.

Each Two Minute play is timed by an audience member to make sure that the performance comes in under 120 seconds. For every second over, the ensemble promises a push-up. Hamlet was last timed at 2:06. So that was six push-ups for every member of the ensemble. But all in all, six extra seconds for what could be a four-and-a-half hour play isn't bad at all. We just need to eliminate those William Shatner pauses. 

Look for Two Minute Shakespeare On the Green at 7:30 before each Twelfth Night and Titus Andronicus performance, June 20-July 7. Check out for more info.
See you there!

Good weekend Gentles,
Vincent CB

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