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Long Beach Shakespeare Company Celebrates Playwright's Birthday

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Posted: Friday, April 13, 2012 9:20 am

For those involved in the Long Beach Shakespeare Company, “all the world’s a stage,” especially when it’s time to celebrate the birthday of William Shakespeare. The legendary writer’s birthday is believed to have been on April 23.

To commemorate and pay respect to the birth of Shakespeare, the Long Beach Shakespeare Company is presenting three celebratory events during the month of April.

“Shakespeare was the man of morning,” said LBSC’s Artistic Director Helen Borgers. “Some say it was Einstein, but we feel quite certain it was Shakespeare. We’re celebrating his accomplishments and we’re very excited. For generations, most households had at least two books on their shelves — The Bible and Shakespeare.”

LBSC is starting off with “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) (revised),” written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, who are the founding members of the Reduced Shakespeare Company.

The shows will be at 8 p.m., on Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21 and at 2 p.m., on Sunday, April 22.

Ordinarily performed by three men, LBSC decided to go for a more unconventional version of the show by casting three of its women to carry the popular comedy.

The original production played in London, where it ran for nine years. One of its most infamous moments features a 43-second performance of “Hamlet.”

“Its still full of cross-dressing,” Borgers added. “Except this time, its women playing men. One reason why we decided to this is because women never seem to get to do these things and have much fun. We wanted to showcase three of our women, who can all sing and dance. They’re also excellent actors, and this gives them a chance to play characters like Hamlet and Othello.”

Borgers added that this show may not be suitable for young children, but teenagers are welcome to come enjoy it.

The festivities will continue the following weekend for an evening reading of Shakespeare’s sonnets and speeches performed by Borgers herself.

Since Borgers also is a professional radio announcer for KKJZ, she thought it would be appropriate to broadcast her performance live via LBSC’s website. She said those interested could either join her in person, or listen live at 8 p.m., Monday, April 23.

“I’ll be reading sonnets and speeches,” she added. “We have been doing this live old-time radio stuff for the last three or four years.”

For more than 400 years, Shakespeare’s works have influenced countless artists, playwrights, authors, films and more, and LBSC will be presenting an evening of three short productions that are inspired by his works.

“Speared, Shaken and Stirred” also will be broadcast live via webcast. It includes three short audio plays by Scott Ware.

“One of the plays, ‘Love On the Streets,’ is about a couple of young men who are out to meet two women, but they get stood up,” Borger said. “One of them bets the other to get a girl to kiss him within two minutes, which was the amount of time that it took Romeo to kiss Juliet. It should be very fun.”

All of the performances this month will be hosted at LBSC’s Richard Goad Theatre, located at 4250 Atlantic Ave. Tickets are $10 each, and can be purchased online at www.lbshakespeare.org, by phone at 997-1494 or at-the-door.