If someone handed actress Erin Woods the keys to a Broadway-style the
And it's not because Woods is inexperienced in theater. Her credits include two off-Broadway productions in New York. She has studied with the Royal Shakespeare Company in London.
These days, Woods acts in productions for Oklahoma City's Reduxion Theatre Company.
Reduxion also produces plays for the Metropolitan Library System, including “Much Ado About Nothing,” currently showing at several libraries.
Woods is used to working in unusual spaces. A recent performance of “Much Ado About Nothing” was in the lobby of the Midwest City Library.
But the most difficult space turned out to be the most traditional auditorium — a 200-seat venue at the Downtown Library in Oklahoma City.
“That was one of
Another challenge is putting on full-length productions. Most library shows are under an hour. “Much Ado About Nothing” runs more than two hours with a 15-minute intermission.
“We were among the first people to do a full-length show,” Erin Woods said. “But the feedback has been very good. We've had people tell us they came in to return a book and stayed for the entire show.”
The audience interacts with the actors as well. Nearby rooms are used for costume changes, and the ensemble performs its own music.
“These are very low-tech,” Woods said. “We use a lot of universal lighting, and almost every cast member plays multiple roles. Our belief is that Shakespeare should be able to be performed anywhere.”
There are some minor tweaks. This production of “Much Ado About Nothing” is set in 1963. Woods said that era is more recognizable to contemporary audiences. Reduxion also has staged productions of “Romeo and Juliet” set in 1950s Japan and “Hamlet” set in the 1930s.
It's also a family affair. Erin's husband, Tyler, acts and directs in the plays and like his wife has numerous theater credits. The couple met at University of Central Oklahoma when she visited the school's drama program while looking at colleges. Tyler Woods volunteered to give her a tour of the campus.
The plays have been a success for the library system. A play honoring the life of civil rights activist Clara Luper was well-
“We've been doing these productions for years,” said Dana Morrow, Metropolitan Library System director of out
If you go
There are three remaining performances of “Much Ado About Nothing,” including at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Edmond Library, 1 p.m. April 7 at Warr Acres Library and 1 p.m. April 21 at Ralph Ellison Library. For more information about Reduxion Theatre Company, go to reduxiontheatre.