If it existed, what would a play written by 17-year old William Shakespeare possibly be like and what characters would be in it, Reduced Shakespeare Company actors/writers Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor asked themselves before writing “William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged)” last year?
“We also thought about various combinations of Shakespearean characters and wondered what we could do with them,” says Martin. “What we came up with is a stage show with a through line about a rivalry between Puck (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Ariel (The Tempest).”
“William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged)” is performed by Reduced Shakespeare Company members Martin, Tichenor and Teddy Spencer and presented on May 11 at the Lensic Performing Arts Center.
Written in verse, some of it almost verbatim from Shakespeare’s plays and other lines repurposed, “William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged)” is a heartfelt yet lighthearted show filled with infamous Shakespearean characters, such as Juliet, Richard III and Hamlet, in cartoon-like sketches. It took close to a year for Martin and Tichenor to draft the script, which is occasionally tweaked and revised.
“We leave spots for topical references, so Santa Feans can expect to hear us talk about Santa Fe in the show,” Martin adds.
Founded in 1981, Reduced Shakespeare Company has created 10 stage shows, two television specials, several failed TV pilots and numerous radio pieces that have been performed, seen and heard throughout the world at venues including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Lincoln Center in New York and in London’s West End.
“William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged)” was created in honor of the company’s 35th anniversary and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.