The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)


Writers: Jess Winfield Adam Long Daniel Singer


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Comedy, Parody, Farce
Simple/No Set, Unit/Single Set, Period, Contemporary
Time & Place
Present Day, Any theater stage
Cast Size
Ideal for
fringe festivals, high school, college / university theatre, regional theatre, College/University, Community Theatre, High School, Regional Theatre, Small Cast, Professional Theatre, Ensemble Cast, Diverse Cast, Large Cast
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes adult characters


How on earth can three actors do the impossible: act through Shakespeare’s entire canon --37 plays-- in 97 minutes? By summarizing the canon through football games, rap songs, and outrageously condensed, comedy mash-up titles (like "Four Weddings and a Transvestite") of course! The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) hilariously summarizes all of Shakespeare’s plays, using reduced re-enactments and audience participation. It is famous for holding the (self-proclaimed) record for the shortest production of Hamlet at 43 seconds (as well as the fastest performance of Hamlet....backwards (42 seconds!). An extremely popular play that ran in London for nine years and has enjoyed countless productions in various languages playing throughout the world, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) entertains and teaches audiences facts about Shakespeare, while ensuring them a rollicking good time.

2010 Revised Edition: To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s classic farce, two of its original writer/performers (Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield) thoroughly revised the show to bring it up to date for 21st-century audiences, incorporating some of the funniest material from the numerous amateur and professional productions that have been performed throughout the world. This includes the cast: 3 total (3 male, as written; gender-diverse and/or expanded casts welcome)

2022 Revised Again Edition: The original version was followed by the 2010 Revised Edition, and this latest “Revised Again” Edition includes more changes that celebrate and encourage greater diversity and inclusivity in today’s theater.

Editor's Note: While this is a summary of character types that are written in the script, the authors stress that The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) is a highly improvisational piece and the actors can change things according to their personalities, contemporary popular references, and/or the nature of the target audience.

Lead Characters

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) guide sections