Channeling The Bard
March 13, 2014
To Be or Not to Be
Who: Camp Chair Productions
What: “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)”
When: 7 p.m. March 14-16, 21-23 and 27-30
Where: Cardiff Schoolhouse, 4018 Sky Ranch Dr., Glenwood Springs
How much: $15/general admission, $10/students and seniors, and free for children 12 years and younger, cash or check at the door
Info: 618-8033 to reserve a seat
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — When it comes to theater production, Chip Winn Wells believes in the butterfly effect.
The theory, by mathematician and meteorologist Edward Norton Lorenz, concludes that a small change at one place in a system can result in large differences later.
"Somehow our efforts to entertain will have a positive effect on things as a whole, universally," Wells said. "I enjoy the effects of laughter and the gifts of silliness."
"The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)" director said the spontaneous nature of the play is ideal for the butterfly effect as it translates to theater.
“I’ve been performing my whole life. I grew up with a mom in show business, so my folks are show folks. I formalized these childhood skills by studying theater, teaching drama, directing, coaching, acting, more studying, and I’m still learning every day from wonderful teachers who I feel blessed to know. The knowledge that ‘the show must go on’ is part of my DNA.”
Chip Winn Wells
"I believe that 99 percent of live theater is improvisation," she said. "I love the edge provided by surprise. It's always there."
The production, opening today at the Cardiff Schoolhouse, 4018 Sky Ranch Drive, parodies the plays of William Shakespeare including such classics as "Romeo and Juliet," "Macbeth," and "Hamlet." Wells said the cast's quick line delivery, costume changes, and character transformation of Shakespeare's works will keep audiences constantly entertained.
The show stars a three-man cast of valley actors Nick Garay, Adam Solomon, and Brendan Cochran.
"Audiences can expect to have the experience ameliorate the human condition," Wells said. "These guys pull that off without a problem. It's all been great fun."
Wells has utilized her life-long, diverse experience in theater and a bachelor of arts degree with a focus in directing from University of Illinois in guiding the Camp Chair Productions performance. The world-famous show, first performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1987, takes place at 7 p.m. March 14-16, 21-23 and 27-30 at the historic one-room schoolhouse.
"I've been performing my whole life. I grew up with a mom in show business, so my folks are show folks," she said. "I formalized these childhood skills by studying theater, teaching drama, directing, coaching, acting, more studying, and I'm still learning every day from wonderful teachers who I feel blessed to know. The knowledge that 'the show must go on' is part of my DNA."
Wells said after hearing producer Nick Garay planned to bring the off-the-cuff Shakespeare-centric production to the Cardiff stage in March, she was more than thrilled to take part.
"When this opportunity came up to direct this great piece with a wonderful cast, I jumped at it. I choose my projects carefully, and this one was too good to pass up," she said.
"I have always enjoyed Shakespeare's words that shape his works. They paint beautiful images that last. As an actor, I'd have to say he wrote the best scripts."
Garay, a 27-year-old actor and director who produced his own one-man show, David Sedaris' "Santaland Diaries," at the Cardiff Schoolhouse last December, said Wells has inspired the actors as they have prepared for opening night.
"Chip is great. She has a great sense of humor and a great vision," he said. "Everything we have been taught not to do any theater has been thrown out the window. Everything is goofy, everything is over-exaggerated. There's over-the-top over-acting and just an opportunity to make Shakespeare fun for the audiences."
In "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare," Garay said he plays more of the house manager role. Cochran plays the scholarly characters while Solomon is "more of the goofy, inexperienced actor," Garay said.
"We're a lot like the Three Stooges," he said. "It's pretty much like scripted improvisation, which is tough. We haven't had one boring rehearsal since we started."
Garay said the improvised nature of "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare" provides the cast an opportunity to adapt to every audience.
"It's 'Saturday Night Live' style but with Shakespeare's words," he said. "We play a variety of roles with 20 different characters.
This show has big props and big costumes. Every night will be different based on the audiences' reactions."
That all lends itself to the butterfly effect, Wells said.
"Shakespeare's words provide the space for new interpretations, especially through experimentation," she said. "I like that flexibility."