The Reviews are in!!
"Complete Works" Complete Comedy at Los Alamitos
Los Alamitos High School's recent performance of "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare...Abridged" presented a hilariously funny, satirical take on all thirty-seven of the Bard's histories, tragedies, and comedies. Superb acting, comedic timing, and well-executed technical aspects all came together to form a Monty Python-esque performance that was a delight to watch.
Throughout the show, detailed technical elements highlighted the plot and acting of the performance. Lighting accents during key scenes exemplified the emotion of the characters interactions and of the action on stage, especially during a pivotal rap scene where a plethora of lighting cues where executed with spot-on precision, adding to the comedic ridiculousness of the scene. The decision to use hanging microphones allowed the characters to utilize physical comedy when their words were not in focus, in a way that utilized their full range of comedic abilities.
Ryan Smith, in his portrayal of Gertrude in the Hamlet scene, brought emotion and slapstick action to his performance, playing a woman in a over-the-top nature, going so far as to use falsetto and repeatedly "fix his chest" hilariously. Stella Thermos' role as Macbeth was also perfectly executed, as she donned a spot-on Scottish accent and sauntered about stage as a man, which brought the audience to tears of laughter. Hamlet, played by Ellie Sims, was also a delight to watch. Sims brought all the characteristic passion and attitude of the Prince of Denmark, which made it all the more hilarious as she turned the role into one of comedy during the mental breakdown scene.
Throughout the performance, the entire cast came together perfectly, their interactions spot-on and cohesive, which only heightened the farcical nature of the satirical performance. This was especially evident during the three performance of Hamlet, where every joke was perfectly executed as the characters ran about stage.
Excellently executed comedic timing, technical elements, and acting prowess all came together perfectly in Los Alamitos' performance of the "Complete Works of William Shakespeare...Abridged", making the performance a true comedy.
by Arthur A Pescan of Corona del Mar High School
A hilarious night of Shakespeare and parody at Los Alamitos
Los Alamitos educates on one of the most iconic writers in “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged.” The play follows an ensemble of twelve actors that illustrate all 37 of Shakespeare’s works in just under 98 minutes.
The cast presents a modern take on the bard’s works; from wearing colored tights and sneakers underneath their attire to many pop culture references, teaching Shakespeare in a simple yet hysterical and fast-paced manner that people of all ages will understand.
The hosts of the evening are played by Keith Ahlstrom, Tara Virgil, and Kayla Wiggs. Each individual works as a team with ease, realistically arguing and joking around, especially in the moment when Tara sprints off in a hurry desperate to put on any play other than Hamlet, and as Kayla runs after her, Keith is left alone on stage to awkwardly tell jokes and catch gummy bears in his mouth.
As Juliet, Jade Kaiser shines the second she enters the stage. Her blend of obnoxiousness and over-the-top ego combine together to create a remarkable comedic character. Kaiser mimes puking, throws herself to the ground, and smacks Romeo around as he tries to kiss her. Later, Kaiser plays the character, Ophelia, from “Hamlet.” Over and over she splashes water on her face and falls to the ground in clever farce.
Each individual in the energetic ensemble portrays many different Shakespearean characters, and work as a team with coordinated choreography. To explain the tales, they use metaphors and hilarious story-telling methods such as a football game for passing the crown from king to king, a Shakespearean rap to flashing lights, and Hamlet sped up to Hamlet even faster, and then finally Hamlet backwards. From each line to each movement, the ensemble pushes the play to reach beyond its full potential and create a vivid and descriptive story.
The set design is simple, yet visually appealing. Put together by the whole cast, the set is constructed and painted with quotes from the bard, each pillar representing a different moment or story. The encompassing sound design, props, and powerful lighting wrap the show together in harmony to animate this quick-paced comedy.
by Christopher Diem of Corona del Mar High School
Los Alamitos Completes “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare...Abridged”
Los Alamitos High School's adaptation of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare...Abridged,” which is 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in 98 minutes is filled with constant hilarity, chemistry among the actors, and thoughtful set construction. It is a cast of 12, with some of the students impressively portraying three characters.
Keith Ahlstrom and Tara Virgil who portray two of the three lead hosts in this production steal the show. Ahlstrom keeps the show flowing as smoothly as possible, and with his awkward and casual nature, he brings a genuine feel to the production. During the show two of his fellow co-hosts leave and Ahlstrom, stalling, resorts to telling amateur jokes along the lines of, “So how about airplane food…” Virgil breathes life into the words on the page and her exaggerated facial expressions and her comedic timing enhance the humor that is already on the page.
Jade Kaiser (Juliet, Cleopatra, Ophelia) and Ryan Smith (Benvolio, Titus, Gertrude) add to the production’s humor similarly. They’re full of slapstick comedy, or over exaggerated physical comedy, which is often very “cheesy”, but these two redefine this genre of comedy. Kaiser portrays Juliet with juvenile antics, stopping Romeo in the middle of his sentence to emphasize the fact that he said “But, love…”, and Juliet interprets this as “Butt love.” Kudos to Smith for dressing up as Gertrude. He changes the pitch of his voice so he talks higher, sounding like a woman, and his womanly gestures top it all off.
The cast has tons of chemistry. Whether it is the complex handshakes between characters, flawlessly rapping the story of “Othello,” or succeeding in reenacting Hamlet 4 times, they are well coordinated.
The set for the show is simple, but well thought out. There are large flats with Shakespeare’s famous quotes on them. During the show the actors quote them and it’s interesting to make the connection with what they say, and visually see the words on their set. The floor piece is sloped, just like the stages were in Shakespeare’s time, and for the Los Alamitos set crew to really commit themselves to making the show seem as real as possible shows true dedication.
Los Alamitos’s production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare…Abridged,” is something that is pleasantly surprising. Full of wit and a fast paced story line, this show is something that will not easily be forgotten.
by Noah Sanders of Cypress High School
All of Shakespeare's Works in 98 Minutes? Los Al Makes it a Do!
Performing the Complete Works of William Shakespeare... Abridged, Los Al High School completed a feat that seemed nearly impossible: they combined all the written works of the great English writer into a hilarious and entertaining 98 minute show.
Keith Ahlstrom, Tara Virgil, and Kayla Wiggs guided us through the night and different works as our hosts. These three worked together to deliver joke after joke with amazing timing and coordination. They're energy and quick wit never left a dull moment. The energy seemed to just burst out of these three onstage.
Jade Kaiser and Ryan Smith were over the top and very slap stick comedy, giving even more chuckles throughout the show by playing normally very serious roles, but switching them around and creating their own twist. The crazy movements and gestures added to the absurdity of the characters they played, making them more enjoyable to watch.
All of the performers used audience participation to their advantage and have the whole room involved at one point in the production to make a statement to another performer. They pulled audience members on stage or would sit by them in the house, which gave even more giggles.
Madi Joseph was the prop master for the production and weaved all sorts of hilarious hand held items and wigs into the different plays. She assisted the actors in their funny situations by giving them a recognizable hairdo or an outrageous toy to play with. She even had one of the performers throw water on themselves repeatedly to serve as a drowning!
Costumes were a mix of period type pieces and modern day twists. All of the performers wore the olden type shirt with the billowy sleeves and the Shakespearean cut, but were in outrageous colors like blue or bright orange Eligia Gonzales, designed by Eli. Completed with funny colors tights and converse it was interesting to see the combination of olden and newer styles.
Sets were completely designed and built by the Los Al Tech Theatre Crew and incorporated many olden styles, including a sloped stage. Since the set had to be used for all of the combined works, it had to be versatile and neutral. The students designed a concept with many entrances and exits to provide the performers with many comedic opportunities, and painted quotes from all the famous plays all over the walls and floors. They incorporated the quotes they had written on the flats into the play, which gave depth to the production.
by Samantha Young of Cypress High School
To Be Or Not To Be
Trying to read all of Shakespeare’s works take such a long time with over thirty plays and sonnets, especially with all of the old English language. What better to do then to watch a half an hour play describing all of his works into two acts? That’s what Los Alamitos High School did when tackling on The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield, creating a hilarious show with well brought up energy.
This show sums up most of Shakespeare’s popular tragedies, comedies, and histories such as Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, squeezing in comedies and histories in entertaining scenes. The show was designed for three actors though you can split up many of the roles if needed.
In this performance by the high school, the cast and crew kept up a loud and energetic feel throughout the show with great communication and cues to keep the atmosphere flowing. For example, both actors and tech helped each other out during a scene where everyone rapped, sang, and dance, having the lighting come on at the perfect time and causing the scene to run smoothly and to stop rather perfectly, causing the audience to cheer at the end.
For the main characters, Keith Ahlstrom, one of the hosts in the play, was very crucial in keeping the energy and his believability going, catching gummy bears in his mouth, having the audience pass around a reduced Shakespeare sonnet, and telling cheesy jokes. Meanwhile, Kayla Wiggs who was the nerdy and more serious host, kept her restricting characteristics of a timely and stick to the script character while still delivering her lines humorous and lively.
In supporting characters, Tara Virgil, another host, was the best with interacting with the audience, bringing them up on stage and asking for someone’s playbill, while still keeping her mood of character. Jade Kaiser and Ryan Smith kept the laughter going with hilarious outbursts and improvisation, Jade “throwing up” on the audience and Ryan being a wonderful Gertrude.
On the technical side, the set was amazing with leveling and having Shakespearian quotes written on the side. Lighting brought perfect timed dramatic scenes and focus to the show.
Overall, the entire cast and crew brought up The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged to be entertaining and energy filled with great coordination, timing, and dedication.
by Calysta Byers of Huntington Beach APA
Los Alamitos’ Drama Department Shakes Up Shakespeare
From Romeo and Juliet, to Hamlet and everything in between, Los Alamitos High School’s production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare… Abridged” brings Shakespeare’s masterpieces to life in a new and exciting way.
Shakespeare’s complete collection of works includes comedies, tragedies and histories, totaling to thirty seven different plays. Originally written for three actors,Los Alamitos brings “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” to life with twelve actors in just under an hour and a half.
Los Alamitos High School brings a refreshing and humorous new approach to the classics through humorous improvisations and unique interpretations in an effort to make
Shakespeare more relatable and fun to the modern viewer. Kicking off the show are the three hosts portrayed by Keith Alhstorm,Kayla Wiggs,and Tara Virgil. All three hosts provided fun and energetic antics throughout each of Shakespeare’s works. Their spontaneous banter and use of audience participation brings a fresh glimpse into the world of William Shakespeare. Yet, they are able to work together as one successful ensemble.
Being that there are many characters in Shakespeare’s works, each actor was faced with the challenge of portraying multiple roles throughout the show. The most memorable performance was given by Jade Kaiser, who played Juliet, Cleopatra, and Ophelia. Jade’s execution of Ophelia is technically flawless, her precise articulation of her lines and excellent use of props made it both enjoyable and extremely humorous.
The technical aspects of this production are what really give it life. The gorgeous raked stage, adorned with various famous Shakespearean quotes, was designed and constructed by the Los Alamitos Technical Theater class. The quotes on the stage seem to come to life as they are recited, and are illuminated by the brilliant mood lighting by lighting designer Evan Cusato.
Los Alamitos High School brings the entirety of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare… Abridged” to life through their very talented actors and outstanding technical crew.
by Raven Chatt of Huntington Beach APA
Cliffnotes and Shakespeare Combine in Los Al’s Hilarious Show
You may have previously thought that the complete works of William Shakespeare could not be done in one sitting, and that such a feat would leave the audience prone to mass boredom. However, in Los Alamitos High School’s performance “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare…Abridged” they playfully tackle all 37 of his plays in just 98 minutes!
The show goes through his plays by cutting them down enormously and only doing the most important scenes or combining similar plays, of which there are many, into small skits.
The set was phenomenally assembled with intricate painting of quotes all over the set including the construction of a classic raked stage that complemented the actors.
The show’s ensemble of nine worked hilariously with the three hosts to reenact Shakespeare’s works. From when they broke out in a unanimous rap battle, to when they did Hamlet backwards, the cast mastered coordination and had the level of teamwork rarely scene in a high school show. They had great spontaneity and grasped Shakespearean stock gestures as well as capturing physical humor by wholeheartedly throwing themselves to the ground in agony or repeatedly stabbing themselves with a small collapsible knife.
The three hosts did a commendable job keeping the pace of the show and continually relating it back to the audience by making reference to the classroom and making casual jokes. Keith Ahlstrom did a fantastic job keeping a casual atmosphere in the show from the moment he stepped on stage with his corny jokes and calm presence. Kayla Wiggs did a great job of delivering the more difficult elements of the Shakespearean literature in such a concise manner and held herself with the stiffness of her scholarly character. Lastly, Tara Virgil made the audience laugh with her powerful ability to nonchalantly move through the house of the theater as if it were her stage while still showing great understanding of her role and Shakespeare, as seen in her monologue from Hamlet.
Although the entire ensemble proved themselves consistent and energetic throughout the show two particular actors Jade Kaiser (Juliet/Cleopatra/Ophelia) and Nikki Law (Romeo/Claudius/Anthony) were especially amusing. They were able to match their energy and comedic timing with extremely intricate and extroverted blocking well for a wide array of characters, even including men.
Los Al combined many unique elements to create a hilarious show.
by Zack Ali of Huntington Beach APA
Los Alamitos Hath Done It: "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare…Abridged"
How does one fit all thirty-seven of Shakespeare's plays in a ninety-eight minute production? Los Alamitos High School's cast of twelve takes on the seemingly impossible request in "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare…Abridged", a show originally written for three actors, filled with modern twists and amusing narration.
The humorous showcase begins with an introduction to the vastness and ignorance of the Bard's works and the importance of such literary contributions. An ensemble cast pieces together the famous stories beginning with a comedic take on Romeo and Juliet, the star-crossed lovers played by Jade Kaiser and Nikki Law. This is followed by a Titus Andronicus cooking show, a rap of Othello, and Shakespeare's histories rolled up in a football game. All comedies are grouped together in The Love Boat Comes to Verona, poking fun at the soap-opera aspects and events of Midsummers Night's Dream, Tempest, Taming of the Shrew, and others. The second act is a summary of Hamlet, with entertainment value entrusted to audience interaction, including call and response.
The show has a secure foundation, thanks to the energetic cast, who successfully renews the spontaneous feeling of the show and finds the uniqueness of their multiple roles. The actors' costumes consist of colorful garb that play with Elizabethan elements and modern accents, such as tights with hightop sneakers and bright fifteenth-century style shirts. One of the most appealing parts of the show is the stunning and versatile set. Props are handled well- a difficult task considering the complex choreography of particular scenes.
The production is guided by three "hosts" (Keith Ahlstrom, Tara Virgil, and Kayla Wiggs) who commit to their contrasting characters. There is some depth to be wanted in the characters and research on the Shakespearean puns would help the execution of lines, but the whole cast really lays it all out, using physical work and embracing the sillier moments. They truly work together as a team, considerate of each others' lines and sharing the stage.
Few effects and sound are needed, and props are moved by actors. Favorite features of the show include the hand painted flats, designed to look like pages covered with quotes from the plays, allowing multiple entrance ways, and the simple costumes which prove to be efficient and suitable.
Los Alamitos High School's cast is sure to charm in this comic production.
by Grace Danon of Mater Dei High School
Los Alamitos Amazes with its “Works”
Los Alamitos High School’s hilarious production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare…Abridged,” a play that condenses all of the esteemed playwright’s pieces to a riotous ninety-eight minutes, centers around three laughably, lighthearted hosts as they relate Shakespeare’s sophisticated soliloquies to the everyday person. The play, originally written for three actors utilizes an ensemble of twelve.
Strutting onstage with a charmingly nonchalant charisma, Keith Ahlstrom is immediately captivating as one of the hosts using a mixture of awkward excitement and genuine enthusiasm to engage the audience. He continues to maintain this magnetic zeal throughout the show, even when Tara Virgil, another host, leaves him for fear of performing the dreaded “Hamlet.”
Between the comedic interludes, a number of scenes are punctuated by absurdly amusing adaptations of the dramatist’s classics, such as when Jade Kaiser, as Juliet, pantomimes regurgitating upon the audience in a hysterical fervor. Utilizing exaggerated physical comedy, she continues her farcical folly throughout the performance, such as when she portrays Ophelia, throwing water upon herself on three separate occasions to symbolize drowning.
Just as uproarious is Ellie Sims as Hamlet, who manages to create a believable yet nonetheless humorous character progression, especially evident in her anxious personal crisis during the famed “To be or not to be” soliloquy. Furthermore, as “Hamlet” is accelerated twice more for comedic effect, she continues to maintain her initial hilarity, albeit in an expedited fashion. The standout performance, however, proves to be Ryan Smith as Gertrude, Hamlet’s meek mother; though only onstage at sporadic intervals, his exaggerated, effeminate movements and definitively female vocal inflection are hysterical, leaving the audience reeling in laughter.
The scintillating acting of the performance is underscored by its superb technical achievements. Evan Cusato’s lighting design complements the dramatic context of each scene, using accents of red as well as strategically placed spotlights to accentuate each character’s emotions. In addition, an array of effects are used, evident during the “rapping” scene, in which precisely timed flashes of color add to the rambunctious atmosphere of the scene with excellent fluidity. In addition, Jessie Winsloq’s superb stage management helps to maintain the show’s humor throughout, with clean, smooth set changes and excellently timed technical cues.
Los Alamitos High School’s performance is boisterously amusing, combining hysterical melodrama with masterful technical accomplishments to create a memorable, rollicking synopsis of Shakespeare’s most illustrious works.
by Jackson Maxwell of Mission Viejo High School
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare… Abridged Review
In this wonderful performance presented in Los Alamitos High School, a cast consisting of twelve are determined to show the audience all thirty seven of William Shakespeare’s plays in ninety eight minutes even though they technically don’t review reenact all plays according to one of the characters. These would ultimately lead to total craziness onto the stage using high school understandable humor, yet achieving their goals.
Although it was chaotic onstage, Keith Ahlstrom who played one of the leading hosts was able to keep the atmosphere casual, for example when he would be left alone deserted after two actors would flee the scene, he would throw gummy bears into his and others mouths using audience interaction while keeping his character intact making his performance all more admirable.
Other honorable performances were Jade Kaiser when playing Juliet, or Cleopatra and would never be too over-the-top when throwing-up onto the audience right before death and clearly the ensemble that weren’t left out in any part of the show. Lastly, what was so admirable about the actors was that they didn’t use body microphones and instead projected their voices making it seem much more true to Shakespeare. None of the voices were ever too loud nor to quiet and were understandable. Besides performances, Madi Joseph and Denise Chacanaca made excellent props with such little things and the tech crew made such wonderful lightings flash when the rap verse was going on.
Even though the jokes sometimes fell flat when tried to be forced onto the audience, overall through the work of the entire cast, everything was on cue and the teamwork was absolutely outstanding especially in the scene in which they were doing Hamlet at a normal pace, then quickly, then quicker, and finally backwards. This would be a definite play to remember.
by Diego Rivera of Newport Harbor High School
Los Alamitos “Shakes” Things Up with The Complete Works of William Shakespeare… Abridged
William Shakespeare is one of, if not, the most renowned and prolific playwrights of the English language. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare… Abridged is a humorous 98-minute whirlwind of 37 of his histories, tragedies, and comedies. Originally for a cast of three, Los Alamitos’ cast of twelve executes the material with fantastic coordination and understanding of Shakespeare.
The stunning set consists of quotes from Shakespeare’s works and has varying platforms, providing interesting levels and transitional space. Lighting by Evan Cusato sets the mood for different scenes, whether it be intense spotlights or cool blue hues. Costumes by Eligia Gonzalez mix old, peasant tops with neon tights and Converse shoes to provide a cohesive blend of old and new and a canvas for varying props. The numerous props, some of which are handmade, by Madi Joseph add to the humor of the piece.
The Hosts (Keith Alhstrom, Tara Virgil, and Kayla Wiggs) guide which plays will be performed next, while adding their own humor. Each host has a distinguished character they maintain throughout the piece’s duration. The Hosts shine as an ensemble, with witty remarks, incredible energy and chemistry, and fearlessly engaging the audience.
Also fearless is actress Jade Kaiser, who is seen as Juliet, Cleopatra, and Ophelia. Kaiser commits to the physical, slapstick comedy her role as Ophelia demands, which is repeatedly splashing a cup of water on herself and falling to symbolize drowning. Nikki Law owns her male roles of Romeo, Claudius, and Anthony and implements excellent comedic timing. Law also makes use of spoofing grandiose, stock gestures typical of Shakespearean performance. Ryan Smith gives a memorable and amusing performance as Gertrude in the ensemble’s rendition of Hamlet in the second act. This rendition is headed by Ellie Sims, who carries out her role with great comedic ability, as well as demonstrating her understanding of the material and indulging in more serious moments of the text. The entire ensemble, especially highlighted in Hamlet, works together as a cohesive unit. The coordination in such scenes as the fast and backwards Hamlet, the Othello rap, and the football game of the histories
is impeccable, well-executed choreography.
The dedication and heart of the cast are apparent, making The Complete Works of William Shakespeare… Abridged at Los Alamitos a standout theatrical experience.
by Sarah Pierce of Orange Lutheran High School
Prepare to Laugh Until Your Sides Hurt with Los Alamitos’ Complete Works of Shakespeare…Abridged
Keith Ahlstrom, Tara Virgil, and Kayla Wiggs are the main hosts of this comedic production. Whether narrating the Shakespearean tale for their audience, or being a part of the story, the dynamic trio installs modern matter into works of the English Renaissance, without missing a beat. Impeccable comedic timing is shown throughout both acts, although a few lines may have been dropped by the cast due to the audience’s raging laughter.
Nikki Law and Jade Kaiser bring humor to the destined lovers that are Romeo and Juliet. With slaps preventing kisses, and jokes mocking poor Romeo, the couple gives this Shakespearean tragedy a comical twist. Ryan Smith embraces his feminine side as he steps onto the beautiful set as the flamboyant, exaggerated Gertrude seen in Hamlet. Smith embodies the stereotypical woman and steals the show with his swiveled hips and sassiness.
The ensemble is not only vibrant and enthusiastic, but also unique in their individual characters, and strong as a whole. Their involvement of the audience and use of improvisation helps the production flow seamlessly.
On a more technical level, the student-designed and constructed set creates not only a beautiful background for the show, but the rake (sloped platform) also ties in the Shakespeare aspect, as well as giving the audience an enhanced perspective of the performance. On the walls of the set are not only quotes of the playwright, poet, and actor, but also a shadowy contour of Hamlet holding a skull. A beautiful reflection is created when Ellie Sims as Hamlet contrasts this painting, and in a way, brings the set to life. The lighting is not only on-time and spontaneous – much like the ensemble – but also dramatically accents the actors. Different hues help the audience envision the setting and time of day, whether deep blues to create the illusion of evening, or a warm yellow to simulate afternoon. The costumes augment the connection between the Shakespearean era and the 21st Century with Renaissance poet’s shirts, Elizabethan breeches, bright tights and colorful high tops.
Los Alamitos High School’s Complete Works of William Shakespeare…Abridged is a surprising and unusual take on Shakespeare.
by Bekka Galerpin of Pacifica High School
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, Bridges the Generation Gaps
In The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, by Los Alamitos High School, they test their speed as three hosts, (Keith Ahlstrom, Tara Virgil, and Kayla Wiggs), try to compile thirty-seven of Shakespeare’s plays into a ninety-eight-minute, modern play. The hosts guide us through this feat with relatable attitudes in awkward situations, perfect comedic timing, and flawless, unscripted, audience interaction.
Jade Kaiser portrays Juliet, Cleopatra, and Ophelia as wacky, drama queens who always seem to barf in the end. Nikki Law plays opposite her as Romeo, but also gives life to Claudius and Anthony. She dazzles by having a comfortable aura even when in the middle of the audience and truly takes on her characters’ identities. Spencer Woolard thrills as the Nurse, Lavina, the Witch, and Laertes. Sporting comical fake breasts, her nurse role is truly one to remember. Hasti Bakian humors as the Friar that helps Juliet, but also shines as Bernardo and Macduff. Her body language and stance help convey the perfect Friar. Simon Martin also greatly utilizes his gift for body language as he brings us Polonius, Samson, and Caesar. He is the perfect picture of a creepy old man that is Polonius. Ryan Smith is another comedic male, portraying Benvolio, Titus, and Gertrude. As Gertrude he astounds by owning his new womanly body and sass. Ellie Sims radiates as Hamlet in that same ski
t and the rapist. With her mix of concise lines and relatable struggles, she creates a relatable feel.
The beloved Ghost in Macbeth is played by Stella Thermos who also brings us Tybalt, and Macbeth. Her silly ghost brought the Halloween ghost we know and love. Another cheeky actor was Alison Parsons as Prince, Soothsayer, and Horatio. She delights with her cheerful demeanor and peppy presence. The play features a beautiful set which has painted on it, words from Shakespeare’s works. It is amazing to watch as the actors bring to life the words painted all over the set. The costumes are also a perfect fit for a modern but old play. They feature simplistic old time bagged, ruffled shirts, with loose black knee-shorts, tights, and colored converse. The play features everything from a football game to a rap. Finally in an attempt to astound they perform Hamlet backwards, stunning all.
This play unites Shakespeare lovers and teens alike in one fun, celebration of the works of William Shakespeare.
by Molly Bupp of Pacifica High School
Abridged Shakespeare at Los Alamitos is a Complete Success
Los Alamitos High presents "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare... Abridged" in an attempt to educate the public on all the Bard's comedies, histories, and tragedies. Leading this fast paced show are the Hosts, Keith Ahlstrom, Tara Virgil, and Kayla Wiggs.
Jade Kaiser brings limitless energy in her roles as Juliet, Cleopatra, and Ophelia. She interacts with the audience naturally as she pretends to vomit on the crowd. Kaiser shows strong commitment to her character Ophelia, splashing water onto her face and thrusting herself onto the stage multiple times. Kaiser contrasts this as Juliet, comedically coming out of character to make fun of the Shakespearean language and to slap Romeo (Nikki Law) when they are supposed to be kissing. Law balances this by taking the role of lovesick Romeo to the extreme. Law improvises well as she interacts with the audience as Claudius, staying in character the entire time.
Ellie Sims is memorable as Hamlet. Her pensive expressions as she delivers speeches show the seriousness of "Hamlet," which stands out in the comedic show. Ryan Smith plays Hamlet's mother, Gertrude. He runs around stage with flamboyant girlish gestures, adding to the hilarity. Polonius (Simon Martin) is a notable character with his strange mannerisms that suggest that he is a strange old man. The entire Cast of Hamlet shows enormous talent, going through the story progressively faster, and then even doing it backwards.
Lighting, by Evan Cusato, adds to each of the scenes. Red light is used in dramatic parts like "Macbeth" while flashing lights are used during the seemingly spontaneous rap about Othello.
The set, designed by the theater students, is a feast for the eyes. Different levels help identify what is happening during the rapid play, especially in the chaotic "Hamlet" scenes. All surfaces are covered with Shakespeare quotes, which are said throughout the show. Multiple entrances allow the actors to go on and offstage quickly and often unexpectedly.
The entire cast and crew work together seamlessly throughout the chaotic show. Despite its rapid pace, cues are called effectively. On stage, none of the actors speak over anyone else during the hysterical scenes. "The Complete Works of Shakespeare... Abridged" by Los Alamitos High is a comedic adventure through Shakespeare that is truly a joy to see.
by Elizabeth Craig of Tri-School Theatre
A complete review…Unabridged
It is easy to think that, in our modern age, the writing’s of William Shakespeare have become dated, dry, or even boring. Los Alamitos High School takes this assumption and completely turns it on its head with their hilarious depiction of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare...Abridged.”
This play takes on the ambitious task of performing all thirty-seven of Shakespeare’s plays in a mere ninety-eight minutes; however, all of the plays are done in the style of satirical parody. For example, the tragic play of Othello was performed as a quick-paced comedic rap, rather than a five-act play.
The three hosts, who guide the audience throughout the play, perform their quick-paced lines with humor and individuality. One of the hosts, Kayla Wiggs had to deliver a large amount of studious lines in a very short amount of time. Wiggs does so clearly and concisely, making the play easy to follow. The other two hosts, Keith Ahlstrom and Tara Virgil, do a fantastic job at handling a large amount of audience interaction. Ahlstrom, especially, is left alone to interact with the audience for significant durations of time; he does so with a fun and causal attitude that adds to the overall hilarity of the play.
The supporting cast is small and does a wonderful job of pulling off the jokes in the script and the physical comedy the goes along with them. Jade Kaiser, who played Juliet, Cleopatra, and Ophelia, gave an unforgettable performance. On many occasions, she had to throw her body onto the floor or pour multiple cups of water on herself; Kaiser does so with eagerness that her physical performance becomes iconic to the play.
The show’s set is absolutely stunning. The massive and breathtaking set depicted a myriad of famous Shakespearean quotes in beautifully painted calligraphy. The set makes the play feel as if it just sprung up from one of Shakespeare’s books, adding a sense of beauty and life.
Los Alamitos’ performance of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare...Abridged,” was so refreshing because of its unapologetic humor and unique use of audience interaction. The cast of the show does an amazing job breaking the barrier between themselves and the audience, making the play so memorable. The cast successfully delivers all thirty-seven plays in ninety-eight minutes and by doing so they completely obliterate the idea that Shakespeare might be boring and overdone.
by Maria Harfouche of Tri-School Theatre
‘The Complete Works of Shakespeare… Abridged’ is no comedy of errors at Los Alamitos
Performing 37 plays in 98 minutes may seem like a difficult task but Los Alamitos High School pulls off this comedy without errors before you can say “alas! Poor Yorick!” and makes it look as easy as taming a shrew. Modernizing Shakespeare’s collection of tragedies, histories, and comedies, Los Alamitos brings “The Complete Works of Shakespeare… Abridged” to their stage.
The show opens with our casually informative host, Keith Ahlstrom, and his spiel on the works of Shakespeare before introducing his side-splittingly hilarious co-hosts Tara Virgil, and Kayla Wiggs. These hosts are guides through the stories of the “Comedy of Errors,” “Hamlet,” “Taming of the Shrew,” and many more where we meet the quirky cast.
Many actors, usually tackling more than one character throughout the show, do well staying in character, modernizing said character, and continuing to be hilarious. Ryan Smith, who plays Benvolio, Titus, and Gertrude, portrays a sassy and flamboyant Gertrude through his feminine sashaying around the stage and dying in a graceful yet entertaining manner. Jade Kaiser, stealing the show with constantly invading the audience to “throw up” into a viewer’s bag, shows dedication to her character of Ophelia with her wild and crazy movements, untamed emotions, and her repetitive moments of throwing water upon herself as the “drowned Ophelia.”
The true talent of the actors is brought to light many times during the play when, despite being “racially challenged”, the cast performs “Othello” through a well-coordinated rap OR when performing “Hamlet”… at normal speed, at double speed, at triple speed, and backwards. During the Othello rap, the stage is lit by a colorful array of moving lights that effectively add to the mood. Lighting cues, designed by Evan Cusato, throughout the play are productively used to accentuate an actor’s face, add a bit of mood lighting, or smoothly turn the focus from one object to another.
The set crew does a phenomenal job building what is both a stage for the actors AND an insight into Shakespeare’s works. The stairs, entryways, and walls are covered in beautifully painted phrases such as "beware the ides of March”, “paint an inch thick”, and “get thee to a nunnery.”
According to Shakespeare, “All’s Well That Ends Well” and Los Alamitos’s production of “The Complete Works of Shakespeare… Abridged” definitely ends well.
by Meghan Patrick of Tri-School Theatre
Los Alamitos modernizes classics in ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare… Abridged’
What happens when a few individuals take a condensed version of every Shakespearean play into a single performance? The fast-paced and utterly brilliant production that is Los Al's “Complete Works" is produced. Armed with a myriad of amazing characters along with tech that marries old and new, they create an experience even ol’ Will himself would never forget.
Whether rapping Othello or spontaneously doing Hamlet backwards, the cast never fails to fully engage in the show. The roles are each uniquely performed and quirkily portrayed, contributing to its charm.
Leading the audience through the show are Kayla Wiggs, Keith Ahlstrom, and Tara Virgil as Hosts. They communicate well with the audience as they pull people from the crowd or wittingly reference pop culture. The trio's improvisation is impeccable- the three responding to unforeseen questions as though scripted.
In Hamlet scene, the actors' fervor, energy, and comedy are easily shown. Jade Kaiser's Ophelia goes all in as she throws herself on the floor, passionately splashing water on herself in mimicked drowning. An exasperated Claudius, portrayed by Nikki Law, doesn’t hold back her right to kick audience members out of their seats and settle in to watch the show. With a high voice and exaggerated femininity, Ryan Smith hilariously re-imagines Gertrude, and tops off the amazing ensemble.
Clear diction and dynamic acting aid Ellie Sims in her role as Hamlet. Delivering her soliloquy strongly and with purpose, Sims lends the show a serious edge before hurdling it back into the lively environment as she purposefully breaks character.
Easily matching the brilliance of the actors is the crew. Costumes headed by Eligia Gonzalez and props by Madi Joseph reflect the shows' theme well by combining modern elements such as brightly colored converse and blow-up dinosaurs with Victorian era pieces.
Centerpiece of the show, the set created by Los Alamitos' Set Crew provides a versatile layout that enables distinction between the ever-changing scenes, and its quote-ridden design is wholly stunning.
Evan Cusato's lighting design uses washes of deep red, cool blues, and flashing spotlights evoke emotions of dread and delight that complement the scenes perfectly. And under the guidance of Stage Manager Jessie Winslow, each cue is delivered flawlessly.
All in all, the cast and crew of Los Alamitos succeed in producing a truly amazing performance that certainly pays tribute to the time-honored playwright.
by Veronica Perry of Tri-School Theatre
Hilarity in Los Alamitos' "Complete Works"
A single light illuminates an empty armchair. Suddenly, actors run onstage. For the next 98 minutes, mania fills the stage as the characters race the clock to put on the complete works of William Shakespeare -- using more than a few shortcuts -- with hilarious consequences.
Los Alamitos High School’s production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare ... Abridged” is the hectic retelling of the Bard’s plays, all abbreviated in some way. “Titus Andronicus” becomes a cooking show, and all 14 comedies are condensed into one convoluted tale. The actors’ exaggerated physicalities blend with sophisticated technical features to create the perfect uplifting and fast-paced environment for a comedy.
Tara Virgil, as a host, is one of the few people to remain the same character through the performance. She charms from the first moments, as she tells the audience that Shakespeare invaded Poland and started World War II. Her strong character choices, as she runs out of the theater in protest of performing “Hamlet,” drive the story forward.
Jade Kaiser makes herself an object of hilarity in multiple roles, including Juliet and Ophelia. No matter what role she is playing, and whether she is splashing a cup of water on her face, miming vomiting on the audience, or falling to the ground bonelessly, she stays the same zany character, and reminds the audience of the contrast between the actor she is playing and the various Shakespearean roles that her character must play.
In contrast, Nikki Law plays the serious actor who attempts to remain in character despite the surrounding raucousness. Law is larger than life as Hamlet’s uncle, demanding an occupied seat in the audience for herself; and, playing Romeo, determinedly kissing Juliet and then yelling “Get over it” at the audience.
The dynamic lighting, by Evan Cusato and Sabrina Gludt, adds to the atmosphere throughout. The lights over the audience turn on when the actors are interacting with audience members, effectually bringing the entire theater onstage. In “Othello,” strobing white lights work with the actors’ rap dance to create the atmosphere of a stereotypical rap video.
The props appeal both to the characters from Shakespeare’s plays and the more modern characters playing them. The most creative and prominent prop is the audience. The cast skillfully interacts with the audience -- talking to them, using them as the butts of jokes, and even calling a random person onstage to be part of “Hamlet.”
Los Alamitos High School combines the new with the old in this hilarious, quirky, and irreverent production.
by Audrey Mitchell of University High School
Los Alamitos Shakes Up Shakespeare
Shakespeare is one of the most well known playwrights, known for his brilliant vivid language. So what happens when a school mixes all 37 plays into a single performance: the result is Los Alamitos High School’s comical production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare…Abridged”.
With a play so heavily reliant on the comedic moments, the energetic ensemble executes them effectively. The Hamlet cast presents a tightly performed comedic show speed up, incorporating Jade Kaiser (Ophelia) hurling a cup of water onto herself and plunging to the floor within seconds while the guards quiver at a less than terrifying ghost. While overall articulation and projection are sometimes not the sharpest, the ensemble moves with over exaggerated gestures and grand tableaux, not only satirizing Shakespearean gesturing but also the ridiculousness of the entire play itself.
Jade Kaiser, as Juliet, Cleopatra, and Ophelia, hilariously satirizes these classical women through her commitment to dramatic vomiting, high pitched shrieking and flailing around in various stage moments. Her exaggerated hair flipping and hip rotating with Nikki Law as Romeo contrasts well with Law’s more serious, yet still satirical, hard hitting tableaux.
Ryan Smith portraying Gertrude, while only having limited stage time with his character, makes his character memorable. He adjusts his fake chest, softly tosses his hand, and speaks in a stereotypical operatic womanly voice, utilizing a great deal of physicalization in a short time frame.
Keith Ahlstrom, Kayla Wiggs, and Tara Virgil (Hosts) draw together the show’s ensemble and lead in the audience to the multitude of plays. Ahlstrom’s comfort with the audience and solid improvisational lines, Wiggs’s nerdy excitement for Shakespeare and Virgil’s general casual nature, yet disgust and strong protesting to Hamlet, excite and carry the heavily filled play.
The set’s design and construction, crafted by Los Alamitos Tech Theatre, allows the actors a variety of stage levels to work on. The eye-catching Shakespeare quotes adorned on the flats cover the set decoratively and even mirror moments performed in the show. Costumes (Eligia Gonzalez, Cameron Reed) for many of the characters showcase the Shakespearean style with the puffy shirts, breaches and leggings; however bold popping shirt colors and vibrant colored converse modernize the looks.
Los Alamitos High School’s production incorporates the grandness of the Shakespearean text with the comedy of the modern era, providing a wonderfully entertaining show.
by Megan McCarthy of University High School
The Bard’s Best Impress at Los Alamitos
Shakespeare’s greatest hits are summarized hysterically. The histories are compiled into an aggressive football game between royals. Titus and Lavinia teach the audience how to make meat pies, Hamlet is performed backwards and in under 60 seconds. These are “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)”.
Los Alamitos High School’s mockery of Shakespeare’s repertoire is playful and coordinated. Colorful, committed characters and spirited technical elements fuse to create a memorable, entertaining performance.
Hosting the show with a giant grin and open arm gestures, Keith Ahlstrom exudes charisma. His excellent comedic timing and believable reactions make for humorous interactions with his co-hosts. Tara Virgil and Kayla Wiggs add to Ahlstrom’s humor by crafting characters of their own. Virgil’s awareness and commitment to her laughable ideas comically contrasts Wiggs’s stiff, intellectual attitude.
Jade Kaiser tackles Juliet, Cleopatra, and Ophelia with immense energy. With each role she dons she makes use of Shakespearean stock gestures and over-the-top vocal and physical choices. Every physical play she makes is crafted expertly. When she ‘drowns’ herself as Ophelia, she vigorously launches her body to the floor, heaves water on herself, and shrieks violently. Her playful portrayal of Juliet is especially humorous opposite Romeo (Nikki Law). Romeo makes a valiant effort towards rendering a serious, brooding lover, but Kaiser playfully interjects, slapping Romeo, teasing him, calling him “Butt Love”. Kaiser especially shines in the Othello rap scene, thrusting her limbs every which way to parallel the hip-hop style.
Ellie Sims maintains impressive pacing as Hamlet. She delivers hard-hitting speeches with a pensive, noble stance, but seamlessly transitions into whiny, rambling actor, fretting over her performance. Ryan Smith’s performance as Queen Gertrude adds to the humor in the Hamlet scene. Clad in a velvet magenta dress fitted with false breasts, Smith imitates feminine mannerisms, flinging his hands and speaking with unusually high pitch.
Drawing elements from both Shakespearean and modern wear, costumes by Eligia Gonzalez successfully blend the show’s classical content and contemporary commentary. Colorful tights and Converse downplay the velvet tunics and pantaloons and emphasize the casual atmosphere of the show.
Lighting, designed by Evan Cusato, enhances the show. Spotlights direct attention to the action, creating an ironically humorous sense of tension. During the rap scene, chaotic spotlights add to the fervor of the moment.
Vibrant and playful, Los Alamitos’ production is chock full of theatrics, talent, and tricks.
by Yamini Nambimadom of University High School
Los Al Drama Director