The Complete Works of
William Shakespeare (abridged)
In an unusual casting move, Jarion and Darren attended the final auditions and helped choose an actor for the third role in the production. It was with some trepidation that the director, Bob Currier, and producer, Lesley Currier, allowed this to happen. What if the actors disagreed with the director's choice? What if they disagreed with each other? It was a recipe for disaster right out of the starting gate. Fortunately, despite some wonderful competition, there was unanimous agreement on an unknown actor with spiky hair who showed up at our general auditions and piqued our curiosity with his energy, wit, geniality, and the the mischievous twinkle in his eye -- not to mention his rock-star good looks. Ryan Schmidt had a theatrical presence we all thought would mix well with Darren and Jarion. And we were right.
Rehearsals were raucous and the jokes flew "faster than an arrow from the Tartar's bow." Tagalog (who knew Ryan spoke Tagalog?), loud and melodious farts, and a small stuffed beaver were just a few of the things that crept their way into the show. It was undoubted both hysterical and occasionally raunchy. There was something to offend just about everyone. Fortunately, our audiences adored it.
Jarion Monroe, who has been a professional actor at major theatres for 40 years -- and who, at 60, was way too old to be running around for two hours straight making jokes about haggis and willies -- said it was "the most fun he's ever had on stage." Whatever doesn't kill you can only make you laugh. Here's to the hilarity!
-- Lesley Currier, Producer
What the Critics Said:
"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 earnestness 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