SHAKE­SPEARE IN DOHA

Qatar Today - - DOHA DIAARY > QT TAKE -

Ac­ci­dently stum­bling on the re­hearsal in progress, we heard Austin Tichenor dis­cussing Sig­mund Freud's id, ego and super­ego with his co-star Dan Saski (Saski would later be un­recog­nis­able due to the fact that he is in var­i­ous dresses for most part of the show; Shake­speare would have been so proud). Even though we knew the na­ture of the per­for­mance we were about to wit­ness, it still felt ridicu­lously out of place. In ret­ro­spect, that was prob­a­bly the least ridiculous bit, con­sid­er­ing that at one point dur­ing the play we ac­tu­ally saw minia­ture an­i­ma­tronic di­nosaurs. This is Shake­speare, like you have never seen him be­fore. One stage, three ac­tors, 37 plays (and a small, lam­i­nated 3x5 card that some­how con­tained all the son­nets) and 97 min­utes of roar­ing fun. The Com­plete Works of Wil­liam Shake­speare (abridged).

The per­for­mance kicks off with the ac­tors each ad­dress­ing the au­di­ence, begin­ning with the third ac­tor, Tiger Reel. You are shown right away that the fourth wall is non-ex­is­tent. There is noth­ing pre­vent­ing the ac­tors from call­ing for the house­lights and then com­ing over to pull up one of the au­di­ence mem­bers to the stage (yes, that hap­pened. Twice. Not even a baby, who was qui­etly mind­ing his own busi­ness and keep­ing busy with one of his par­ents' mo­bile phones, was spared). The in­ter­ac­tive el­e­ment of the show was a nice sur­prise and the won­der­fully spon­ta­neous sense of hu­mour, the three thes­pi­ans pos­sess, made it es­pe­cially so. Whether they are play­fully be­rat­ing a flip flop-wear­ing the­atre-goer or quizzing an­other au­di­ence mem­ber on her knowl­edge of Shake­speare, their jokes are spot on.

Tichenor, the vet­eran of the troupe, has been with the com­pany for 24 years. Ac­cord­ing to him, Shake­speare has never been ir­rel­e­vant. No mat­ter what year or

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