Reduced Shakespeare Company present The Complete World Of Sports (Abridged), York Theatre Royal, June 13 to 16 (From York Press)
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Reduced Shakespeare Company present The Complete World Of Sports (Abridged), York Theatre Royal, June 13 to 16
9:30am Tuesday 12th June 2012 in Theatre
WHEN we Brits invent games, we give them to the rest of the world, whose gratitude is to promptly show us how to really play them.
When the Americans invent games, they keep the complicated/ridiculous things to themselves and call them the World Series.
In the year of the London Olympics, who better to cast a satirical eye over the absurdities of sports than the Reduced Shakespeare Company, those merry yet merciless masters of abridgement – or pith-taking as their economical comedy is also known.
The American RSC has sent over its A Team, company owners Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, who joined in 1989 and 1992 respectively, and Matt Rippy, who came on board in 1996 and premieres each show with the co-writers.
They arrived in York last Thursday to begin rehearsals and re-writes for a five-week tour that will open at the Theatre Royal tomorrow, ahead of a London run timed to coincide with the Olympics.
“The sports show was born out of thinking, ‘What do we do next? What do people take more seriously than even Jesus and The Bible?” recalls Matt. “Sports, of course!
“And we made that decision the day after we were stuck in traffic at Trafalgar Square when London got the Olympics.”
The Olympics inevitably will feature in the show but… “The Olympic authorities are so litigious we call it the Olympish!” says Austin. “In fact we call it The Sixteen-Minute Quadrennial Global Medal Chase and Olympish Games.”
The Olympics, sorry, Olympish will be the finishing point. “We decided to go for Faster, Shorter, Stupider as our motto, or, in Latin, Citius, Brevius, Ineptius,” says Reed.
The abridged history of sport will be presented by the Reduced Shakespeare Company Sports Network. “The show is structured as a sports broadcast because that’s how many people experience sports,” says Reed.
Presenters Austin, Reed and Matt will break sport down into assorted categories from all seven continents from the dawn of time until today.
“One of the reasons we wanted to do sports was because sports stories are always being updated,” says Austin.
Among the categories under analysis will be sports involving watching who can beat up whom; ball and stick sports; sports that go round in (pointless) circles; sports with animals; and sports based on occupations.
“What we’re trying to do is take a little air out of the ball,” says Austin.
“We’re taking the pretension out of sports,” adds Reed. “Oh, and we had every confidence that we would be bringing the show to Britain, which is why we have sports in there that no one in America cares about, like soccer and rugby…”
“One reason I love cricket,” rejoins Austin, “is that it makes basketball look exciting.”
After Shakespeare, The Bible, American history, the millennium, musicals, great books, Hollywood and sports, the RSC has already premiered its latest show in America, The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged).
“It’ll be coming over here, fingers crossed,” says Austin. “Though apparently York Theatre Royal has no need of a Christmas show.”
• Reduced Shakespeare Company presents The Complete World Of Sports (Abriged), York Theatre Royal, tomorrow until Saturday, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk