Mainstage Behind the Scenes
WWe're Excited to Introduce the Casts for the Summer
THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (abridged)
Member of Actor's Equity Association
HENRY IV, Part 1 and HENRY IV, Part 2
Hotspur / Warwick / Snare
Northumberland / Glendower / Shallow
Worcester / Lord Chief Justice
Blunt / Westmoreland / Fang
Lady Percy / Doll Tearsheet
Douglas / Pistol
Vernon / Mowbray
Mortimer / Hastings
Poins / Colevile
David Alan Moss
Anthony Shaw Abate
Member of Actor's Equity Association
- Spotlight on our 1998 production of "The Complete Works"
- Spotlight on our 1999 production of "The Complete Works"
- Spotlight on our 2000 production of "The Complete Works" to Introduce the Casts for the Summer
- Spotlight on on the creation of 'The Complete Works'
Jess Borgeson, Adam Long and Daniel Singer -- authors of THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (abridged) -- are some very funny guys. They incubated their play, which was to become an international sensation, at Marin's own Renaissance Pleasure Faire almost three decades ago. In 1981 the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: "It's clever. It's remarkably silly. It's a great send-up of Shakespeare."
Although the group continued to change and refine their show, it remains clever and silly and great. It has gone on to have a two decade run on London's West End, to be produced all over the U.S. and abroad (we saw a Spanish language version in Barcelona several years ago), and to make Borgeson, Long and Singer hands down the most successful playwrights ever to come out of Marin County.
Marin Shakespeare Company first produced this play in 1998 performed by Darren Bridgett, Lucas McClure and David Berkson. Audiences begged us to bring it back the following year... and again in 2000. While we probably could have run it forever, we thought it behooved a serious Shakespeare theatre to vary our repertoire a bit more. This year, as hors d'oeuvres to the very substantial spread that is the Henry IV plays, we bring you once again "the magic, the genius, the towering grandeur" of this marvelous play.
: The Story of Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2
In Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, Shakespeare introduced Falstaff to the world. Boastful, cowardly, full of wit and guile, drunken and thieving and living life to its fullest, Sir John Falstaff is one of Shakespeare's greatest creations -- Harold Bloom ranks him alongside Hamlet and Cleopatra as a sublime example of a character that transcends all previous notions of what it means to be a self-aware human being. And Shakespeare gives Falstaff some of the funniest lines and scenes in all the plays.
The Henry IV plays tell the story of Prince Hal, the young man who will grow up to become Henry V, one of the most celebrated figures in British history and a national hero to Shakespeare's England. In his youth, the son of King Henry IV walks a dangerous path. Uncomfortable with his father's usurpation of the throne, Hal spends his time at the tavern rather than at the court. Instead of honoring his royal father, the young prince has found a new father figure in the person of the fat old knight, Jack Falstaff. Falstaff and his cohorts drink, thieve and have a grand old time together.
Shakespeare presents Hal with a choice. On one side is his father, Bolingbrook, the usurper of Richard II's throne. Hal could emulate the play's other young Henry -- Henry Percy, called Hotspur, the fiery rebel who places honor above all else. Or Hal could choose dishonor; he could follow Falstaff into debauchery and decay. As in so many of his plays, Shakespeare balances the two sides exquisitely. The honorable choice would be to join his father, fighting against Hotspur's rebellion. But this would mean turning away from the vitality and love of life that Falstaff celebrates with every breath. Hal's decision is not an easy one.
Eventually, the young Prince the Prince tries to make peace with his dying father. Falstaff and a host of outrageous lowlife characters prepare to run amok in the new king's reign. Years of rebellion have weakened the kingdom and have chipped away at the ancient values of honor and chivalry. In a new world, where pragmatism hold sway, Hal has many lessons to learn as he grows into the man who would be king.
In presenting both Henry IV plays back-to-back in the same season, Marin Shakespeare Artistic Director Robert Currier is making a bold choice. These plays are often cut, condensed, and combined, but a true production of each allows Shakespeare's full story to come to life. From the dirtiest taverns to the most magnificent courts, from highway robberies to full-scale rebellions, from thieves and whores to soldiers and sorcerers to ladies and lords, the Henry IV plays are a compelling, sweeping journey through a fascinating world. And with the incomparable Falstaff as your guide, this is a journey you won't want to miss.
Each production will run approximately two and a half hours.
on Rob Clare
Rob Clare’s work as an actor and/or director included seasons at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester, as a Staff Director at the National Theatre, and as the Associate Director of Compass Theatre, before he returned to Oxford University in the 1990s to complete a doctorate focused on the practical interpretation of Shakespeare’s verse and prose.
Since graduating from Oxford as a Shakespeare specialist, his work in some of the UK’s leading drama schools has included creating the Masters Program in Classical Acting at London's Central School of Speech and Drama, which he also directed for its first three years. He now regularly coaches the core acting ensemble at the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has also taught Shakespearean Acting for Rutgers University at London's Globe Theatre, and has worked regularly at India’s National School of Drama, in New Delhi. He regularly directs Shakespeare master classes and workshops at the Actors Center in New York. His theatrical work in prisons was featured in the BBC documentary Act of Faith, his published academic criticism has won international literary awards, and he has also taught workshops and seminars in Oxford University and in University College, Dublin. Rob has been coaching actors and contributing to rehearsals at Marin Shakespeare Company for ten years now, working closely with Artistic Director Robert Currier.
His involvement as a co-director for the coming season has stirred tremendous enthusiasm among Bay Area actors eager to work more closely with him. Rob is also always a witty, jovial addition to any group and generally the life of any party. When not in rehearsal rooms or theatres, and since he is now too old to be a competitive soccer player, his preferred sphere of activity is to be high up on alpine glaciers.
- Rave Reviews for "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)
"A raucous delight....You don't have to be a scholar or even a fan of Shakespeare to appreciate this bawdy, silly and thoroughly enjoyable romp through the Bard's canon....Vigorously performed by actors Darren Bridgett, Jarion Monroe and Ryan Schmidt, the premise is that three actors have taken on the daunting task of presenting all 37 of Shakespeare's plays in under two hours, playing 75 different roles. Not familiar with Shakespeare? These guys fill in the gaps. Know your Bard? All the funnier for you. What makes it all come together and work so smoothly and so well are three things: A literate, wide-open script by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, whose Reduced Shakespeare Co. used to perform it at the original Renaissance Faire in Novato; the able direction of MSC co-founder Robert Currier, who is firmly in his element here; and the talents of three local actors - most notably Bridgett, who unavoidably steals the show....Monroe, the most classically trained of the three, provides many stylized touches throughout the evening and quietly classes up the joint. Newcomer Schmidt is extremely likable, and holds his own admirably with these two older pros. However, there is no escaping it: Bridgett's immense talent almost swallows the other two."
– Mark Langton, Marin Independent Journal
"Call the Shakespeare police. There's a riot going on at Dominican University's Forest Meadows Amphitheatre. It's called The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) and it's one of the funniest mock-Shakespeare shows ever conceived. Perpetrated by Jarion Monroe, Ryan Schmidt and Darren Bridgett, under the direction of Robert Currier, The Complete Works covers all of the Bard's prodigious output – warhorses and obscurities alike – in two hilarious hours. Imagine the Three Stooges running amuck in the Globe Theatre, dashing from wing to wing in one ridiculous costume after another, bad wigs askew, fake blood and vomit spraying the audience. Imagine a theatrical extravaganza put on by a troupe of extremely bright, hyperactive, 10-year-old boys and you're part way toward having some concept of what this show is about....Veteran Jarion Monroe rivets the audience by blending the stentorian oratory of an evangelical preacher with the dubious earnetness of a fly-by-night huckster salesman. Ryan Schmidt belies his GQ good looks with a whopping dollop of self-mockery – his Hamlet appears briefly as a self-doubting Elvis impersonator – while Darren Bridgett combines a commanding stage presence and deft athleticism with a goofy, vulnerable, child-like innocence....It's a deliciously ludicrous parody delivered by world-class talent at a world-record pace. You'll have to go back for another performance to catch all the laughs you missed. I know I will."
– Barry Willis, Pacific Sun
"Director Robert Currier has managed to inject a steaming pile of hilarious new sight gags, fresh spins and pop-culture references into this opening production of the Marin Shakespeare Festival's 2007 season....Currier loads on the pop-culture references, Airplane!-style, hitting everything from Harry Potter and The Sopranos to Rocky, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. But what makes or breaks this show is the commitment and skill of the actors, who must appear to be making everything up as they go while performing exhausting feats of physical endurance and comic timing....Under Currier's Monty Python-inspired direction, these ideas often run to the raunchy side of things. Let it be known that this may be the most off-color production of Complete Works ever staged in these parts. It may also be the funniest." [
– David Templeton, The Bohemian
"A great choice for an evening of entertainment for scholar and Shakespearean newcomer alike. The irreverent, lively approach to presenting an overview of the Bard’s works is ambitious and somewhat informative, but mostly good fun....The pace is non-stop, and the actors mug the audience to show that they are having a helluva good time clowning. There are many over-the-top devices used. Props and bodies fly onto the stage from no apparent place. Quick-changes into bizarre costumes occur frequently. The whole point is this is classic theatre as you never imagined it."
– Albert Goodwyn, San Francisco Bay Times
"[T]he Curriers, Bob and Lesley, have engaged a trio of thespians capable of extending – and overextending – the conceits of a somewhat dated work (not The Bard's; the burlesque condensation) to create a comic backwash that'll engulf a summer audience....Unlike the run-of-the-mill ShakesFest, Bridgett in Forest Meadows became the cultural equivalent in Marin of an Ecstasy rave....Jarion Monroe has contributed to many fine productions in the Bay Area. His acting skills are almost impeccable. Which is why it's always worth it to see him as master farceur, tearing down the edifices of dignity....this brash young actor [Ryan Schmidt] contends very well with his more experienced mates....Director Bob Currier once again shows his stripes as an unregenerate trickster, and a brilliant cast bears him out."
– Ken Bullock, Commuter Times
"Marin Shakespeare Company’s opening show of the summer, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), celebrates 'the common folk, the groundlings,' in a romping send-up of the Bard’s traditions and excesses....This quantity of acrobatics and costume changes could not be staged without three accomplished actors: Jarion Monroe, who will be seen in next month’s Henry IV, Darren Bridgett, who has already played Complete Works three times, and Marin newcomer, Ryan Schmidt of Sonoma. Recognition is also due for Billie Cox’s creative sound effects, Joel Eis’ fast-paced props, and Rebecca Redmond’s heavy-duty costumes."
– Rosine Reynolds, Tiburon Ark
"Take 3 professional actors, some current topic events, improvisational humor mixed in with Shakespeare, and you come up with a show that entertains both non-Shakespeare and Shakespeare fans alike....The three actors fully engaged the audience with their antics. I had the impression that they must had a ball at rehearsal. The audience shared their joy of slap stick comedy and outlandish frivolity. The play has been widely produced throughout the country and in Europe (and in other languages). I love some of the touches that MSC had provided in their production....Darren Bridgett rides with the audience throughout the show. His improvisational skills are extraordinary. As the audience is invited to interact at times, Bridgett takes their comments and geniusly bellows them into great comebacks....My favorite part of the production happens in the second act when they attempt to tell the entire saga of “Hamlet.” Schmidt portrays the typical self-absorbed actor preparing for the famous “to be or not to be” speech. His facial expressions are priceless....During intermission, Monroe does a concise 3 minute rendition of the Wizard of Oz. That is not to be missed."
– Maria Vroble, Listen and Be Heard
2006:Behind the Scenes
2005:Behind the Scenes
2004:Behind the Scenes