Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"Kill Shakespeare" is a Creative, Hilarious Adventure Featuring Everything You Love About the Bard, Live (Kind of).

"Kill Shakespeare" at HERE Arts Center
banner used with permission
Comics are a common topic these days for blockbuster movies, and live theatre has also been catching on to the intrigue of the graphic novel. Enter "Kill Shakespeare," a new theatrical production that's re-enacts a graphic novel, which is a re-imagining and re-mixing of your favorite classic Elizabethan dramas and comedies. Say that three times fast. Oh, and there's also a forthcoming board game.

Richard the III and Hamlet
Artwork by Andy Belanger
 used with permission
"Kill Shakespeare" finds a handful of Shakespeare's most notable characters thrown together in an epic battle of good and evil as they search for their "Creator," a reclusive wizard, who happens to be Shakespeare himself. In this fractured fairytale of sorts, the villainous Richard III and Lady Macbeth team up in their thirst for power, thinking that by eliminating Shakespeare they may reign absolute. Juliet is a rebel and a leader of the resistance fighters against the tyrannical Richard. Also searching for Shakespeare, but with more altruistic motives, are Hamlet, Othello, Romeo, Falstaff, and Puck. "Honest" Iago is along for the ride, but whom does he really serve? Will Romeo and Juliet ever realize that the other is still actually alive? Or will Juliet instead fall for Hamlet? The Ghost of Hamlet's father guides him on his journey, and eventually Hamlet encounters the sanctified Shakesepare in an unexpected state. Finding the allegorical source of Shakespeare's power, will Hamlet discover that this wizard is less than omnipotent? Has he reached Shakespeare in time to save him from falling into the bloodied hands of Richard and Lady Macbeth? Don't despair, like several of Shakespeare's most beloved stories, this one does end in merriment.   

Does "Honest' Iago Serve Anyone But Himself?
Artwork by Andy Belanger
 used with permission
This creative, hilarious adventure features everything you love about the Bard: romance, cross-dressing, farce, tragedy, mayhem, and treachery. Using a unique combination of comic panels projected on a large screen, radio-style readings by the actors, acoustic samples of songs by rock greats such as the Beatles and Led Zepplin, and inventive musical tactics including crinkling plastic bags and tapping a hammer on a steel pipe, the "Kill Shakespeare" story really seems to come to life as its creators, Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery (with Art by Andy Belanger) could only have hoped.

Director Jordana Williams has described "Kill Shakespeare" as a "wonderfully strange combination of comic book and radio play." Following a successful reading at New York Comic Con and other national Cons, "Kill Shakespeare" is now in the midst of a short (5 day) debut run at HERE Arts Center, and the final staging will be tomorrow, Wednesday, March 5. Tickets, $15, are currently sold out online for the 75 minute show, but some standing room tickets may be available at the theater. "Kill Shakespeare" is presented by Gideon Productions. If there's enough demand, there may even be a NYC revival planned. (Hint: Demand can exist if you create it...). 

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