*written with the help of Lindsey Wagner
Is it possible for theatre to be dangerous? Not in the sense of it being politically controversial or socially risky, but where the audience strains its face muscles smiling or falls out of their seats with laughter? That kind of dangerous comedy would require amazingly sharp writing, and incredible talent, commitment and collaboration from the actors. Christopher Willard, Seth Maisel, and Chris Boeckx hope to bring you dangerously close to injury as they present the fast-paced compilation Completely Hollywood (Abridged) at Backstage Theatre.*
*please note that neither the actors nor production staff at Backstage Theatre actually wishes physical harm upon their audience members
Christopher Willard, Seth Maisel, and Chris Boeckx comprise the hard-working trio that condenses decades of infamous films into an action-packed live theatre experience. “I wasn’t certain about being in this show at the beginning. I wasn’t sure I even liked the script,” says Maisel. “[But] as soon as I heard this in the mouths of Christopher and Chris, I knew it was going to work. We are on the same page literally and figuratively.” With such a small cast, it certainly must help to be working with friends, and not just colleagues, who trust each other and really worked to create this piece together. Boeckx, who also directs this production, agrees that collaboration is key. He says, “I feel like we’ve been able to create a great, trusting environment in which to build a show. Some of the best moments have grown out of the times when each of us has a really strong but totally unique vision of what a bit should look like. We’ve been able to find common ground almost every time, and I’m pretty proud of that.”
This team effort was surely helpful when the three were developing the numerous caricatures and impersonations that are needed for the show. All three men have experience in the Reduced Shakespeare series, and characters in this show range from the aloof director to the cocky actor and all personalities between them in the world of film. “We have the quick-change, who-am-I-this-time thing down pat,” says WIllard. “The differences fall in the fact that we’re playing variations of ourselves (as actor, director, intellectual) within the course of the play – exaggerated representations of who we are or hope to be.” Maisel echoes, “I’m not very good at acting like myself. Then I play over the top me playing over the top actors doing over the top characters. Luckily, subtlety isn’t my thing.”
What hopefully is balanced with these over the top characters is an opportunity for the audience to connect with the performers, making the best part of the experience the audience engagement in all the characters. “We have to bring the audience with us into this show. It has absolutely no fourth wall,” Maisel says. “We can’t present the story and let the audience take it as they will, they are right there with us (or not). You know immediately if they’re with you, having fun, and living in the same zany world of the show as we are.” That’s why staying on top of lines and precise comic timing in the show is so important for the trio. Willard says, “You drop the ball, and you’re toast!” Maisel finds this requirement inspiring rather than draining. “The hectic pace is one of the things I like best about this show,” he says. “I hate down-time.” Boeckx agrees, “It’s all about pace . . . frenetic pace . . . if we have time to breathe, we are going too slow!”
Completely Hollywood (Abridged) promises to be a true whirlwind. Once you step in the theatre, expect to be whipped up in the journey all three actors are taking. These guys are truly motivated to take the audience on a ride to see a spoofed glimpse of Hollywood. And with this trio’s can-do, can-laugh attitude in Completely Hollywood (Abridged), it’s likely to be an awesome, wild ride.
Completely Hollywood (Abridged) opens June 21 and plays through July 22 at the Breckenridge Theatre, located at 121 S. Ridge Street in Breckenridge.
Tickets are $23 for Adults (all fees included) if you order online and $25 (all fees included) at the door or by phone. Tickets for Youth under 18 are $18 online and $20 at the door or by phone. For online tickets, visit backstagetheatre.org. To order via phone, call 970.453.0199. Tickets are available at the door, one hour before showtimes.
A special Champagne Opening will be held on June 21 with desserts and complimentary champagne. Food and drink served at 6:30 PM. Add $10 to the regular ticket price for this exclusive Champagne Opening event. Mixed drinks, soft drinks, popcorn, and snacks are available for purchase at the box office.