IMG_8785 (2)Saint Viator’s fall play features madcap comedy, wacky double entendres, improvisation and even audience participation. And did we mention that it’s Shakespeare?

That’s right, this cast of more than 40 students, divided into two casts, tackle all 37 works of Shakespeare, in 97 minutes. Officially, the play is called The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), but Mrs. Kate Costello, director, refers to it simply as, Shakespeare in a Nutshell.

IMG_9090 (2)“It’s like Monty Python meets William Shakespeare,” Mrs. Costello says.

Costello has directed Saint Viator students in three prior Shakespeare works, including Romeo and Juliet, and twice in a Midsummer’s Night Dream, but this abridged version looks at the Bard in a completely different way.

IMG_8571“It’s a wonderful comedy that pokes fun at the playwright I love,” Mrs. Costello adds. “It’s the same reason I love Forbidden Broadway revues, that parody current show tunes.”

The play opens with a spoof of Romeo and Juliet, including a fight between the Capulets and Montagues, before Romeo recites his famous lines from the balcony scene.

IMG_9218For Austin Jones ’21, who shares the role with Chris Sevilla ’20, he follows in the footsteps of his brother, Zac Jones ’17, who played Romeo four years ago.

“It’s fun to say these lines, but in a different way,” Austin says. “It gives new meaning to Shakespeare.”

IMG_8522Students in the cast come from all grade levels, including freshmen, who have never encountered Shakespeare before going out for this show.

Take Michelle Nagle ’22. She shares the role of Horatio with Livie Augustine ’20. Both have had to learn to deliver their lines as a rapper, which Michelle estimates is more than 20 lines.

“It’s been difficult to tackle Shakespeare and kind of hard to understand what we’re saying and meaning,” Michelle says. “But the script overall is teaching me more about Shakespeare and his writing.”

IMG_8289 (2)James McManus ’19 and Daniel Ornelas ’20 are charged with delivering an actual monologue from Hamlet in the show’s second act. It’s one of the only straight scenes in the show and both students say they are enjoying the chance to perform real Shakespeare.

“It took a while to master (the iambic pentameter),” James says. “It’s so different from anything we’ve ever done. But once you get it, it’s poetic, and I’m enjoying the challenge.”

IMG_8844 (2)Mrs. Costello says she chose the show, in part, because the works from Shakespeare mirror some of their class material. But she also knew she had the students to pull it off.

“We have some of the most clever, witty character actors our school has had in years,” she says. “They have been able to tackle some very challenging material and comic timing.”