Now playing at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company is the delightfully witty “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] [again].” The play was is written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield and has been revised a few times. This production is directed by CSC Founding Artistic Director Ian Gallanar.
The play is like a “Saturday Night Live” show with short often hilarious scenes that, in this case, “summarizing” the plots of 37 plays by The Bard. Even if you have never seen Shakespeare, it will still be very funny and side-splitting.
The cast includes Kathryne Daniels, Scott Alan Small, and Shaquille Stewart. The production team includes Micha Kachman as Set Designer, Kristina Lambdin as Costume Designer, and Katie McCreary as Lighting Designer.
Sometimes, you get lucky when you direct in community theatre. I was extremely fortunate when I directed a Christmas show for a local group about eight years ago. A young man had a small role in the play the group was performing right before I held auditions. Although his role was small, he stole his scene and I convinced him to audition for me. His name was Shaquille Stewart, in his early twenties, and he had tremendous stage presence As we rehearsed, it was evident he was someone special. Shaquille memorized his lines quickly, was always professional, and helped the other less experienced actor. He never lost his cool, even when I had him do a “ballet” to “The Nutcracker Suite” for one scene.
I have been lucky to be able to follow his career, and on occasion, I have had a chance to see him perform again. When Chesapeake Shakespeare Company suggested I interview “Shaq” for this piece, I was only too happy to do it.
Shaquille Stewart makes his Chesapeake Shakespeare Company debut. Previous credits include “Mlima’s Tale” (1st Stage), “Macbeth “(PG Shakespeare in the Parks), “Do You Feel Anger” (Theater Alliance), “Tempered” (4615 Theatre Company), “Museum 2040” (4615 Theatre Company), “#Poolparty” (Ally Theatre Company), “Hamlet” (Baltimore Shakespeare Factory), “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Baltimore Shakespeare Factory), and “Othello” (National Players, Tour 69).
Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?
I’m from Wheaton, MD, where i was born and raised. I’ve lived and worked everywhere in our area, you name it— Silver Spring, Northeast, Southeast, VA, Damascus, Gaithersburg, Bethesda, Hyattsville, etc. I’m a Maryland-bred. I’ve been active here in the arts community for about ten years now. In addition to acting onstage, I’ve helped to devise and direct shows and worked tech. I even have a band that gigs occasionally in the area. I went to Morgan State in Baltimore, as well as Montgomery College in Rockville. Whether it be how I act, how I devise, or how I produce music, I owe a lot to the connections I’ve made along the way. While I currently reside in Baltimore, who knows where I might be swept to next? I just trust myself, the universe, and hope that wherever I go, I land on my feet.
You have several Shakespearean plays listed your bio. Would you rather do Shakespeare or modern plays?
Hard question. The easy answer is, no matter if it’s modern or classical, if I’m cast in it, there’s a good chance I’ll do it. But to be frank, I haven’t done any Greek work. That’s next on my hit-list.
Is there an actor (past or present) that you most admire?
The first name that comes to mind is my college professor, Kenyatta Rogers. I admire his technique and ability, but so does everyone. More than anything, I think I admire the example he sets for black men in this city, and his work in passing on the passion for theatre and stagecraft for people who look like me. I know for a fact I’m not the only one who can say this about Kenyatta.
“The Complete Works” is part “Saturday Night Live” and part the play-within-a-play from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” What are your roles in the production?
Let’s see if I can list them all without looking at my script. In order, I play Sampson, Romeo, and the Nurse in “Romeo and Juliet,” Othello, Troilus, Antonio, Bottom, Kate the Shrew, Petruchio, Richard III, King John, Horatio, Polonius, and Laertes. I know for a fact I’m missing some. But most importantly, I get to portray myself onstage, and that alone makes this show worth it.
Is there a play or role you would like to do in the future?
Another hard question. I’ve been blessed with some awesome roles, and because I’ve been leaning more into writing lately, I don’t really have dream roles like someone else might. That said, once I’m a bit older, I’d like to tackle Othello again. I’ve grown a lot since I did it back in 2018, and as I understand myself, my vehicle, and the world around me, I definitely want another crack at it.
“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)[revised][again]” runs through March 5, 2023 at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, 7 South Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. For more information and tickets, go to this link. CSC no longer requires that patrons wear masks for performances at the theatre.