37 Shakespeare plays in 90 minutes? See it in the Tri-Cities

Courtesy of the Rude Mechanicals

William Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays in his lifetime.

Instead of picking just one for its next production, a Tri-Cities theater company plans to tackle them all.

The Rude Mechanicals is presenting “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised],” opening Jan. 24.

The show — a fun, madcap adventure — runs through The Bard’s cannon in about 1 1/2 hours.

It features three actors, playing versions of themselves, who take the audience on a wild, fourth wall-be-darned ride from “Hamlet” and “Othello” to “Much Ado About Nothing” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The show “is silly, but it also has poignant moments that really connect you to what Shakespeare is about,” said Shea King, who’s directing. “It gets to the heart of Shakespeare and to the heart of theater.”

Shea King Courtesy photo

The production stars Cyndi Kimmel, Bryan Grossman and Alli Talmage.

King said he’s excited to be working with them and other Rude Mechanicals veterans on the show.

The California native holds a master’s degree in directing from the University of Idaho, and has worked with theater groups around the country. He attended graduate school alongside Ellicia Elliott, artistic director and co-founder of the Rude Mechanicals, and was invited to helm “The Complete Works” as a guest director this season.

Audience members can expect to laugh and be moved, he said.

“This play is a real exploration of Shakespeare, but also it’s a way for us to come together as a community and individuals and have a light-hearted experience that connects us back to each other,” King said.

The show was penned by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, and debuted at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in the late 80s. It’s become a hugely popular show worldwide.

Performances are at 7 p.m. Jan. 24-26, 31 and Feb. 1-2, and at 2 p.m. Jan. 26 and Feb. 2 at the Uptown Theatre in Richland.

Tickets are $5 for groundling seats, $20 for general admission and $18 for students, seniors, teachers and the military. They’re available at www.rmtheatre.org, at Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet in Richland, and at the door

To help families hurt by the government shutdown, the theater company is offering free tickets to the Jan. 24 and 31 performances to federal employees and a guest. The company also is collecting food and cash donations for Second Harvest.