Local theatre company performs Shakespeare for the community

The Gaslight Theatre Company put on a 90-minute production called “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged,” which consisted of all Shakespeare’s classic plays on Thursday, Sept. 12. 

The event was originally going to be held at the Northampton Street Amphitheatre Portal but due to rainy weather it was relocated to Downtown Arts on Franklin Street.

“Thankfully the change of location was not too complicated because King’s College loaned us their equipment and we were able to move the whole set quickly into Downtown Arts,” said Dave Reynolds, the artistic director of Gaslight Theatre Company.

Not only did Gaslight Theatre Company partner up with King’s College for this event, but other sponsors included: the City of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Wilkes University, The Luzerne Foundation and Riverfront Parks. 

The whole performance was comprised of three actors, Jason Alfano, Dane Bower and Tim McDermott. Although it was a scripted performance, the actors also used improvisation to make the show more exciting and enjoyable for the audience.

“People should come watch the show because it’s hilarious and it’s unique to see this type of theatre,” said Reynolds. “In this show, anything can happen since it’s a different take on Shakespeare’s plays. We hope it will get the audience to enjoy his works in a new way than they might have before.”

 The mission of Gaslight Theatre Company is to put on classical plays with a comical twist to show the community how fun Shakespeare can be. Riverfront Park’s mission was ultimately to put on events that will help people engage people with the environment. Therefore, the two decided to join forces and put their missions together for the community.

“The original idea for this event was going to be people sitting outside along the Susquehanna River, interacting with the environment as they watch the classic works of Shakespeare,” said John Maday, the executive director of Riverfront Parks Committee. “We did the same thing last year and people enjoyed connecting with their community and watching a great performance of some of the classics.” 

Even though the production was unable to be performed outside on the river this year, people still had a wonderful time sitting inside the warm theatre of Downtown Arts. The lights and set design was added to the ambiance of the performance.

“I would have went to watch the performance outside on the river, but it was a chilly and rainy day so I was grateful to be indoors of the Downtown Arts theatre,” said Tori Duffy, a first-year, pre-pharmacy major at Wilkes University and audience member of the play. “The theatre was warm inside so I was able to watch the whole play very comfortably.”

The weather did not stop a lot of people from attending the show. In fact, the turnout of the event was great and the audience members’ laughter at the performance filled the room.

“I would not say that I understand or enjoy much of Shakespeare, but the way the actors performed his works made me give all my attention to the stories being played out in front of me,” said Lydia Bingaman, a first-year political science major at Wilkes University and audience member of the play. “The three male actors did a good job making the plays more funny than they ever were to me and I was extremely entertained by the whole show.”

If you missed out on watching this performance of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged,” there are more opportunities for you to watch these productions in the future. Next week, on Friday, Sept. 20 and Saturday, Sept. 21 ticketed performances of the production will begin at 8:00 p.m. at Downtown Arts. Then, on Sunday, Sept. 22 at 2:00 p.m. a final ticketed performance of the play will also be held at Downtown Arts.

For more information visit about the upcoming performances please visit www.gaslight-theatre.org.