Coming to a Theatre Near You: 37 Plays in 97 Minutes  

The Wolf Theatre Academy (WTA) is well known for its wonderful productions, and this year, they’re turning up the heat and attempting quite the feat: 37 plays in 97 minutes. 

You read that correctly! Each year, the WTA has staged a production of one of William Shakespeare’s more notable plays, and this July, they’ve decided to switch things up and perform The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised]. 

The play follows madcap actors who “weave their way through all of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, and tragedies in one wild ride” and wouldn’t you know it, it’s London’s longest-running comedy. 

The audience will be joining our performers on the Elaine Wolf Theatre stage as we create our own, smaller version of Shakespeare’s Old Globe Theatre in the space. Bringing the audience on the stage builds energy and the performers feed off of it. Plus, with a small cast speeding through 37 plays in 97 minutes, they can use all the help they can get to make it to the end of the show with as much energy, or more, than they started! 

Rich Cowden, General Manager of the Mizel Arts and Culture Center will be directing this unique piece of theatre which couldn’t be more fitting because, well, this isn’t Mr. Cowden’s first rodeo with The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised]. 

Here’s what Rich had to say about his experience with this particular comedy: 

“In 2000, my wife and I joined another couple in founding Greenshoe Theatre Company in Grand Junction while I was teaching in the theatre department at Colorado Mesa University. We had very little money, very little decent performance space, and only a few people to make the thing work initially. So, we set out to find small cast shows with big impact — Complete Works (abridged) ended up being our debut production.” 

When asked what made this play one of his favorites, Rich was quick to point out “the balancing act between the cast appearing to be utterly and completely inept and unprepared but being eminently apt and prepared.” Audiences, as well as performers, are sure to bust a gut with this delightful romp through Shakespeare’s epic portfolio. 

But it had to be asked — Rich, what goes into Complete Works (abridged) besides comedic timing and humorous dialogue?  

“Controlled chaos.” There are so many props and costumes in this show and the lion’s share of the rehearsal time goes into making sure everyone knows where they’re going, being careful not to crash into anyone else, and making sure they have the crown on their head instead of the water gun in their hand. It all has to look like unabashed mayhem, but every second is meticulously choreographed.” 

We couldn’t agree more and cannot wait to see this comedic masterpiece in our Elaine Wolf Theatre. 

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] will have three performances: Thursday, July 28 at 7:00 pm, Friday, July 29 at 10:00 am, and Sunday, July 31 and 1:00 pm. Grab your tickets here as soon as possible — you won’t want to miss this miraculous feat!