Shakespeare has crafted a legacy that has lasted hundreds of years and woven itself into the very core of modern society.
His plays are tragic, filled to the brim with wit and often feature unexpected turns — see “exit, pursued by a bear.” However, the literary mastermind is by no means renowned for his brevity. Which is why when students from Plant City High School attempted to perform a parody of all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in under two hours last week, the community eagerly buckled in for what was sure to be a wild ride.
And what a ride it was.
Titus Andronicus was presented in the style of a cooking show. Shakespeare’s entire collection of Histories ran through its chronological journey via a rough-and-tumble football game. The actor portraying Ophelia from Hamlet engaged the audience in a Freudian analysis of the character in hopes of “better capturing their mindset,” with audience members literally acting as the id, ego and super-ego.
While many of the faces that appeared on stage are by now familiar to PCHS fans — like Kaitlyn Gomez and Tyler Stanaland — there were several new actors gracing the stage as well. It made for a unique dynamic as the sometimes silly, sometimes hyper-dramatic cast plucked on the many stereotypes woven into the classic works and attempted to make them relevant to the modern high school student while constantly breaking the fourth wall to keep the audience engaged.
And while the concept of a Shakespearean parody is by no means new material, the intricacies were exaggerated for all to see and made the show one those who popped in for the two-hour production will remember.
After all, who could foresee a monologue being presented via an interpretive dance that also featured puppets? Stanaland once again proved he has a natural gift for making storytelling seem natural, even while embracing the absurd. The sophomore played a character in nearly every play and jumped back and forth between aggressively obtuse and charmingly passionate all night long.
The fast-firing comedy did eventually run through all 37 plays and even tossed in a few soliloquies for good measure. Clad in neon socks, elaborate wigs and mis-matched period pieces the young actors proved that the core of humanity that runs through Shakespeare’s creations will ensure the works remain a cornerstone of society’s interpretation of love and tragedy for years to come.