Boiling down The Bard

Boiling down The Bard

Metamorphosis Theatre Company puts on 37 plays in 90 minutes with ‘The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged)’ at Fremont Centre Theatre

By Carl Kozlowski 08/02/2012

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If you’re looking for a night of classic theater that won’t leave you bored to tears, Metamorphosis Theatre Company has the show for you. 
 
The group’s production of “The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged)” at South Pasadena’s Fremont Centre Theatre leads audiences through The Bard’s entire 37-play canon in just 90 minutes, while giving people plenty to laugh at throughout the production.
 
The idea to take on the show, which has proven popular in prior productions nationwide, came after Metamorphosis members saw how their previous show “The Bible: The Complete Works of God (Abridged)” proved to be a smash. MTC Artistic Director Justin S. Fisher says doing shows like the two “(Abridged)” productions were ways to get noticed in a crowded entertainment marketplace. 
 
“We’re trying to launch with getting expanded attention from the public, now that they can find us at the Fremont every time,” says Fisher. “They can expect a certain quality, and we have a passion for making people laugh.” 
If not funny than quirky seems to be a direction in which the Fremont appears headed this month, with a one-night-only performance Sunday of “The Annual Meeting of the American Society of Lone Fishermen Who Have Found Dead Bodies,” penned and performed by award-winning playwright T.S. Cook.
 
“When dead bodies are found in the sea or in a lake, who is the person who always does the finding? It’s the lone fisherman. Why is he out there and what does he think when he makes his discovery?” asks the play’s press clippings.
The show, which just finished a six-performance run in the Hollywood Fringe Festival, features The Fisherman, who “tells some salty jokes, recalls some great stories, and plays tag with a Coast Guard cutter,” according to the clips.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.
 
This season’s other MTC show will be the world premiere of the new comedy “Slice” by South Pasadena author Paul Kikuchi, about the relationship between a young sword maker and a young shoemaker in Japan and how they came to create the famous Japanese sword known as the Katana. 
 
MTC formed in 2007 and produced shows in several Pasadena venues before settling in at the Fremont in 2010. They are now the theater’s main troupe, with MTC putting together two productions a year as well as a monthly improv show, while other groups rotate in between with their own shows.
 
But for now, “Shakespeare” should provide plenty of entertainment.
 
“It’s the easiest way to get all your Shakespeare in one evening, and it’s understandable for anyone,” says Fisher. “Even if you have trouble understanding a typical Shakespeare play, you’ll have no problem understanding this one. I wouldn’t say it has a plotline running through the show, other than they do all the plays in fast, funny, mashed together kinds of ways. Most scenes are mash-ups, except for the biggest plays, like ‘Romeo & Juliet’ and ‘Hamlet.’” 

“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” runs through Aug. 12 with performances at 8 pm Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays at the Fremont Centre Theatre, 1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena. General admission is $20, $15 for seniors and students with ID. Call (626) 441-5977 or visit fremontcentretheatre.com.    

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