Eugene Weekly : Theater : 11.18.10


All You Need to Know
You’ll learn in LCC’s Great Books
by Anna Grace

Great Books: the agony and the ecstacy, at LCC

You’ve got one hour and 45 minutes before graduation, with a remedial literature class as your last hope. Will you make it? We think you will.

Another hysterical script by the Reduced Shakespeare Company (The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged, and The Bible, Abridged) placed wisely in the hands of the Student Production Association at LCC breeds an evening of literature and laughter. That you should go is a given. Here are the top 10 reasons why:

#10 The play covers 86 books you were supposed to read but probably didn’t.

#9 Little Women is explained as a series of plays in a football game.

#8 When Walden by Thoreau gets too boring, the team performs Walden by Hemingway.

#7 You’ll probably love the audience participation in the Napoleonic battles of War and Peace.

#6 The show contains buckets of water. ’Nuff said.

#5 All great poetry is compressed into a medley occasionally mixed up with a grocery list

#4  People hurl both Twilight and The Bridges of Madison County off the stage.

#3 An epic, slow-mo battle Cliffs Notes the bloody ending to The Odyssey.

#2 Of course, there’s the grand finale: 28 books stacked up and boiled down to one line each, squeezing thousands of pages of great literature into less than five minutes.

#1 All the Great Books, Abridged is as alive as live theater can get and is the funniest thing you’ll see this year.

Adam Leonard’s direction seems to inspire a refreshing zaniness, unleashing creativity and camaraderie among the actors. With a simple, recycled set (look for the stripper pole from Rent revising its role), the action takes place amid a squall of props, books and costume pieces. The pace of the show is dizzying. I could scarcely keep up, occasionally missing a new joke as I was still laughing from the previous one. Rhea Gates is delightfully enthusiastic as an over-dramatic professor. Cross-dressing Patrick Curzon rakes in laughs. Mathew Issertell anchors the action as “Coach.”

If you’re an erudite professor of Western literature, you will laugh your ass off. If you’ve never read anything longer than the back of the Wheaties box, you will find this risible script both witty and whimsical. Although the weighty tomes are aplenty, tickets are not. Only one weekend remains, so book your seats for this novel experience.

All the Great Books, Abridged continues at LCC through Nov. 20. Tix at or at the door.