The Reduced Shakespeare Company, a theatrical troupe that introduced “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” in 1987, has recently added two new productions to its growing list of “abridged” comedies: “Completely Hollywood” and “The Complete World of Sports.”
The two new comedies will bring Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre's 2011-12 season to a close Thursday through May 20 at the Civic Center Music Hall's Freede Little Theatre, 201 N Walker. “The Complete World of Sports” will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday. “Completely Hollywood” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. May 20.
“We write what we find amusing,” said author and performer Reed Martin. “We were influenced by ‘Saturday Night Live,' ‘Monty Python' and ‘Looney Tunes' back in the day; more recently by Penn and Teller, the Flying Karamazov Brothers and the smart, physical comedy of vaudeville.”
The Reduced Shakespeare Company got its start in 1981 with a 20-minute version of “Hamlet” that the company performed at Renaissance Fairs in California. That grew into “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” (originally titled “The Compleat Wks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged),” a 90-minute survey of the Bard of Avon's extensive catalog of dramas, comedies and history plays. That production was introduced at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1987 and later played for nine years at the Criterion Theatre in London.
The RSC, which is not to be confused with London's Royal Shakespeare Company, soon began creating new shows, including “The Complete History of America,” “The Bible: The Complete Word of God,” “All the Great Books,” “Western Civilization: The Complete Musical” and “The Ultimate Christmas Show.”
Martin, along with Austin Tichenor and Dominic Conti, like to compare themselves to the Marx Brothers or the Three Stooges. Martin is the one who's supposedly in control, while Tichenor is the smart one with no common sense, and Conti is the goofball. They play fast and loose with their subject matter and regularly break the fourth wall to speak directly to the audience.