It’s Shakespeare, lottery style… with a little Bingo thrown in. Actually, it wasn’t really Bingo, but IAGO, named after the villain from Othello.
I have to admit, that I probably haven’t sat through this much Shakespeare since I was a grad student in Virginia and that was a production of Twelfth Night Beach Boys style. Because of my Shakespeare ignorance and a feeling that I needed to give myself a little educational entertainment, I chose to see Lot o’Shakespeare. Tim Mooney, the creator and performer, did not disappoint.
As Mooney explained, the concept for the show came from an idea that he could be ready at a moment’s notice to perform an audition monologue from any of Shakespeare’s plays. What resulted from his work in memorizing hours worth of monologues became the 60 minute show, Lot o’Shakespeare.
At the beginning all audience member are given an IAGO card, which was essentially a Bingo card. As Mooney would spin the lottery balls around one would fall out and that would direct him as to what play and monologue to perform. Then before each monologue, Mooney would give a one sentence explanation of the the scene and character.
The first ball was I18, Julius Caesar. That was a long, long monologue, but Mooney performed it with great passion and skill. Throughout the next 60 minutes, Mooney performed from Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Measure for Measure, King John, and Taming of the Shrew to name a few. Not only were all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in the repertoire, but all of his sonnets too.
After one of the audience members won the game of IAGO, Mooney then opened up the show to requests. I was very impressed that he was ready to dive into the next monologue without any real preparation. As soon as the play was called out, he would jump eagerly into explanation and then monologue. I have to admit that when requests were being shouted, I was tempted to call out Hamlet, but I was afraid that I would look too much like the Shakespeare amateur. So, I went without hearing “to be or not to be.”
Overall, this was a fun show to see. I enjoyed Mooney’s enthusiasm for the material. I also enjoyed the intimate community that was created in the audience as we laughed, applauded and yelled out requests. To sum it all up into one word, I’ll defer to the gentleman who sat in front of me, “Bravo!”