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‘Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)’ brings fast-paced comedy to stage

Gilbert Theater production runs through March 5


Sword fighting, quick costume changes and breakneck-speed jokes are in store for audiences of Gilbert Theater’s production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).”

Lawrence Carlisle III directs the mad-paced production as three actors take on multiple roles, constantly changing hats and clothes as they maneuver through 37 plays in 97 minutes.

Carlisle is also artistic director of Gilbert Theater.

“It is fast-paced, very frenetic and energetic. It is one of the funniest shows I have ever done,” said Carlisle. “It also does not require a ton of Shakespeare knowledge. It is accessible to everyone.”

“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” was originally supposed to be part of Gilbert’s 2020 season, but it was a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were in one of the last rehearsals before opening when everything shut down. We postponed it a few times before we had to cancel it altogether. I was really mad. Our production is really funny and silly, and it got squashed,” said Carlisle.

Carlisle said he knew it would be part of a future season.

“It’s just too good,” said Carlisle.

With the two-year lag, two cast members had to be replaced. All three performers are Gilbert favorites, each starring in recent shows.

Chris Walker, Dan Adams and Linda Flynn round out the cast.

Walker recently starred as Capt. Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music” and directed the season opener, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” He has also been in “Rope,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.” among other shows.

Adams made his Gilbert Theater debut in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and has gone on to be a regular in shows such as “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” “Othello” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” He was recently in “The Wizard of Oz” at Cape Fear Regional Theatre.

Flynn has been with the theater as an actor, stage manager and assistant director since 2017. She directed “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and performed in “Urinetown the Musical.” She also was assistant director of “Oedipus Rex.”

The scenery may be minimal in the production of “Complete Works,” but the actors bring color and virility to the theater as they take on Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” “Othello,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “King Lear,” and “Romeo and Juliet,” along with lesser-performed plays such as “King John,” “Cymbeline,” “Love’s Labour’s Lost” and “All’s Well That Ends Well.”

“Be prepared to have a good time,” said Carlisle.  

Fayetteville, Shakespeare, theater, entertainment