Compact Shakespeare is an application of compact theatre on the plays of the most famous playwright of all time.
Compact theatre focuses on maximizing the core disciplines of theatre—playwriting, acting, directing, and design—to deliver substantial content. It aims to fit theatre into the busy schedules of both theatre artists and audiences. It strives to be mobile, allowing it to be performed even in non-traditional spaces like bookstores, coffee shops, halls, and small auditoriums. It seeks to make theatre accessible to people who have minimal resources.
Carmel Valiente plays Iago in Eulogy for Othello (Compact Shakespeare 2016)
[Photo credit: Joy Antonio]
Our experience of Shakespeare today
William Shakespeare, considered by many as the greatest playwright in history, wrote his classic plays at an era when people had more time to watch them. Staging the entirety of a Shakespeare play will likely produce a show that runs for four hours. These days, theatre companies who stage full-length Shakespeare plays running at two hours have probably removed or changed lines. But even those performances are hard to make time for if you're a non-professional theatre artist or a casual theatre-goer.
In the meantime, most of us do have exposure to Shakespeare, simply because his works are taken up in school. We read scripts and summaries, perform excerpts and monologues, and watch movies in class. While these have value, Shakespeare's intention was for his plays to be performed onstage.
Compact Theatre + Shakespeare
Compact Shakespeare is here to help deliver Shakespeare's insights on man in the medium he wrote for and within the circumstances of the 21st century. We gather abridged scripts wherein only deletions are involved; only the Bard's words, and no one else's, are in these scripts. We also support the staging of these plays by promoting them through our official channels.
As of this writing, there are three variations of Compact Shakespeare. The first is 10-Minute Shakespeare, which is primarily a way of teaching Shakespeare in the classroom through performance, despite the limitations of a classroom setting. The second is Shoestring Shakespeare, which are abridgments that require fewer actors. Lastly, Mono Shakespeare is an even more compact version of Shoestring Shakespeare, requiring only one actor.
Who are the people behind Compact Shakespeare?
The main proponent of Compact Shakespeare is Dr. Joem Antonio, a teacher of Literature and of Theatre Arts at the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P), where he is also the Program Director of the MA Humanities program. Dr. Antonio is an award-winning playwright and published children's author. He got his Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of the Philippines Diliman, for which he wrote a doctoral thesis on young adult theatre.
He owes the creation of Compact Shakespeare in part to the students and alumni who took his classes and practiced theatre at UA&P. Together with Dr. Antonio, they abridged Shakespeare's scripts and staged them. The vibrant theatre community at UA&P keeps Compact Shakespeare growing.
And of course, a play without an audience is just a rehearsal. Compact Shakespeare is alive today because of the many who've watched its various incarnations. A number of these audience members have even come on board to perform or help produce plays.
Dr. Joachim Emilio "Joem" Antonio plays Macbeth in Macbeth at the Stake (Compact Shakespeare 2016)
[Photo credit: Grace Wong]
The students of 10-Minute Shakespeare 2015 with Dr. Joem Antonio