Fashionably anachronistic

Many modern adaptations of Shakespeare plays have come and gone. Some, such as Romeo + Juliet (starring Leonardo DiCaprio), have left their mark. King’s Crown Shakespeare Troupe (KCST) hoped to achieve such glory, at least within Columbia, when they presented their ShakeShorts ShortShakes on October 25-27. Bwog’s very own dilettante dramatist John reviews:

ShakeShorts ShortShakes was comprised of five, fifteen-minute shorts, each by a different director. Renowned plays such as Hamlet and Henry VIII were mixed in with lesser-known poems such as Venus and Adonis. Given free reign on artistic liberties, each director cooked up a much-edited plot, peppered with wry and dirty humor.

Under Maitreyi Choksi’s direction of Julius Caesar, the “doomed” emperor masterminded his own assassination. Why? He could not bear the thought of a mundane death. The conspiracy upon conspiracy, coupled with Percy’s (Caesar) whisper of “Et tu, Brute?” and Chloe’s (Marc Antony) passionate rendition of the “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears” speech, made for a Hitchcockian thriller.

Hamlet, now a reality cooking show contestant, vied against Horatio, Laertes, and Osric for the title of top chef. In a heated competition filled with chicken plucking and hot sauce subterfuge, Gertrude and Claudius managed to sample some of the hot sauce that was destined for sabotage. Oops.

Venus and Adonis, now set in a park in modern New York instead of an ancient Roman forest, depicted Venus’s enduring lust for Adonis. With many double entendres and Snow White-esque unconsciousness (just for a kiss!), Hannah Ceja and Alex Katz added a humorous twist to a classic unrequited love tale.

PrezBo VIII, rather than Henry himself, was oblivious to the treachery behind his back in preparation for the annual Fun Run.  The dramatic irony was found in adding a second finish line, after all the other runners have past, so that Prezbo would always wins. Jim Pagels’ version of Henry VIII kept Wolsey’s devious side in framing Buckingham for treason and eventually claiming the Fun Run championship for himself. Pagels thus brilliantly morphed a 17th century tale into one tailored just for Columbia.

Kate’s (Katherina) taming of Petruchio certainly made for a surprising role reversal in Alex Dabertin’s version of Taming of the Shrew. Not only was the taming not only verbal, but there were also handcuffs, dildos, and BDSM involved. For the sake of keeping Bwog clean, let us just say it was a head-scratcher plot twist indeed.

Short shorts via Shutterstock