CLOTA takes you Into the Shakespeareverse

CLOTA takes you Into  the ShakespeareverseBy BRIAN COSNER, News Review Staff Writer

Have you ever reflected on Shakespeare’s “Othello” and thought – “this would make a great Jerry Springer episode!” Or sat through a needlessly inexplicit monologue trying desperately to look like you understand its depth? Whether you find yourself questioning your appreciation for the Bard and his works or you love him so much that you’ve seen all of his plays and are ready to see his stories with a new spin, CLOTA’s “I Hate Shakespeare” might be for you.

In its simplest form, parody makes light of or pokes fun at the work it is mimicking. But truly successful parody also comes from a place of understanding and appreciation, something Steph DeFerie achieves in her 2008 play “I Hate Shakespeare.” Riffing off of the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s musings, the play catapults the crowd (including “Unhappy Person in Audience” played by River Cotterell) into the Shakespeareverse where vignettes of the Bard’s works range from slight retellings to utterly nonsensical (in a good way) reimaginings.

Kevin La Brie stars as Hamlet, Othello, Ted and Paris and also acts as the audience’s guide through Shakespeare’s plays. You’ll see characters you expect like Ophelia, Laertes, Desdemona and Juliet (played by Chloe Witnack), Claudius, Polonius, Macbeth, Romeo and Puck (Ben Bockhahn) and Lady Macbeth (Nathan Clair), as well as some you may not expect like British Literary Historian, Jerry Springer, Cow, Cheerleader and Bob, a Claims Adjuster desperate for a Van Nuys vacation (ensemble).

Honestly if this isn’t enough to sell you on seeing the show, I don’t know what else I can tell you. If you don’t want to watch filmmaker “Bill” Shakespeare feverishly pitching his increasingly gory and telenovelesque Titus Andronicus to a studio exec, then that’s on you.

Josh Cotterell directs this fast-paced, delightfully hair-brained “Shakespeare” production which opens Jan. 24, 7 p.m. at CLOTA Center Stage. Additional performances are Jan. 25 and 31 and Feb. 1, 7 and 8. A matinee performance will be 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 2. Tickets are available for $15 general admission, $12 for students/military/seniors and $10 for CLOTA members. Find @RCCLOTA on Facebook for more information.

Pictured: Jim Lange (Nathan Clair) helps Juliet (Chloe Witnack) find her soulmate on The Dating Game. From left, her choices are Romeo Montague (Ben Bockhahn), Paris (Kevin La Brie) or Bob (Leonas Firme).

Story First Published: 2020-01-24