Bring your mask and your funny bone, CRT says.
Shakespeare is back in Flagler County. Sort of.
After more than six months of empty stages, City Repertory Theatre begins its 10th season this weekend with a comedy that gives audience members a survey of the Bard’s genius: “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),” written in 1987 by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield.
John Sbordone, director and cofounder of CRT alongside Diane Ellertson, put the show on several years ago, and it was well received.
“It was just hilarious,” he recalled. “Everybody was falling all over themselves and loving it. ... It’s entirely a spoof, but of course the actors — and we have three really good ones — have to be able to speak the language in order to spoof it.”
Starring in the show are Beau Wade, Bruce Popielarksi and Bethany Stillion.
The decision to open the season with “Abridged” was made in March, when it became clear that venues would be shut down due to the pandemic.
“We were looking for something to start with that was lighthearted, fun and represented who we are,” Sbordone said.
The show will take place at the Palm Coast Arts Foundation stage in Town Center. Platforms were built over the steps, and the audience members (in masks) will be kept six feet apart from each other. Because the show involves audience participation, signs will be offered to those who want to be left alone; the signs will say, “Leave me alone.”
“It’s all part of the fun,” Sbordone said.
CRT has proven to be a success in Flagler County, with many shows selling out over the years, particularly the musicals. The theater was conceived as a way to provide an edgier alternative to other local theater options. Among the shows CRT has put on in recent years are Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” “Taming of the Shrew,” and “Romeo and Juliet,” along with shows like “Blood Knot,” by Athol Fugard; and, coming up in the 10th season, “Little Shop of Horrors” and Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.”
CRT’s success is as much a credit to Ellertson, who choreographs the musicals and runs the books and box office, as to Sbordone.
“Diane is the bedrock of the theater,” Sbordone said. “Anything that’s happening, she’s got her hands on it, and makes it happen. So even when times are tough Diane is there.”