By Mary Boyle
I admit it: I am not as well-read as I would like to be. I never slogged my way through War & Peace, Gone With The Wind, or Moby Dick, and the Disney animated film of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is the closest I've ever come to getting acquainted with Hugo's great work; however, after I saw All The Great Books (Abridged), which opens In Tandem Theatre Company's 20th season, I felt significantly less guilty about being under-read. In fact, I felt positively relieved! You, too, can find absolution from your ignorance by attending this fast-paced, witty play happening at the Tenth Street Theatre in Milwaukee through October 29th.
Playwrights Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, who are also responsible for The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) and The Complete History of the World (Abridged), turn the audience into students and the theater into a classroom...except you're remedial students, and the teachers are actually the Coach (Doug Jarecki) and the Drama Professor (Ryan Schabach), along with a Student Teacher (Chris Goode), since the English Teacher met with an untimely accident. Oh yes, and they're going to cram in all the great works of literature into 90 minutes. No problem.
Doug Jarecki, who played the Coach in In Tandem's 2008 production of the play, returns to reprise his role as the only teacher who could summarize Little Women as a football play, and he does so, brilliantly. Ryan Schabach's drama queen of a Drama Professor is spot on, and Chris Goode channels Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure as a dimwitted, but sometimes surprising, Student Teacher. While total literary nerds might get more of the jokes, I believe audience members will be surprised by how much these great works have become a part of our culture, and how much they already know about them, even if they've never cracked open the book at all. While some works are regarded with respect, others are viciously ridiculed. Nonetheless, you will leave the play feeling smarter than when you arrived and, perhaps for the first time, you'll have fun while you're learning!
All The Great Books (Abridged) runs through October 29th at the Tenth Street Theatre, located at 628 N. 10th Street in Milwaukee. Tickets are available by calling (414) 271-1371, in person at the Tenth Street Theatre Box Office, or online at www.intandemtheatre.org (additional fees apply to online orders).
In Tandem Theatre is pleased to partner with Literacy Services of Wisconsin (LSW) to collect books during the comedy, All The Great Books (Abridged). Illiteracy is no laughing matter, but donating great books can be a fun way to help support non-readers in our community. Books for all ages are recommended!
About In Tandem Theatre
In Tandem Theatre, a 501(c)3 nonprofit theatre located in Milwaukee, was founded in 1998 by Chris and Jane Flieller with the commitment to produce exciting, innovative and professional live theatre by presenting creative and eclectic programming that enlightens, inspires, provokes, and entertains a diverse audience in an intimate atmosphere. Its name, In Tandem Theatre, reflects the connection between audience and actor, the audience and the written word – an intimate experience obtained when live audiences are engaged in strong storytelling. In Tandem Theatre is committed to creating innovative, exciting live theatre designed to inspire, enlighten, provoke and entertain a diverse audience through comedy, drama, musicals, classics and new works.