by Emily Kearns.
“Drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things,” notes Shakespeare. I would contend that in the case of S’Will, those things are engaged hilarity, colloquial wit, and bubbling chatter.
I had the pleasure of seeing The Fools Collaborative’s second reincarnation of S’Will at the Rogue Festival this past weekend and thoroughly enjoyed an hour of abridged Shakespeare, complete with champagne sipping and audience participation in the form of an interactive drinking game.
Shakespeare’s most infamous love story comes to present-day life in this laugh-a-minute comedy directed by Heather Parish. Antiquated and classic Italy meets modern and gritty Central Valley as the cast is thoroughly in on the joke.
In Romeo and Juliet, the story of star-crossed lovers ultimately meets its bitter end in Verona.
In S’Will, the pair meet in fair Visalia.
There is terrifically inappropriate humor and a range of zany accents littering the piece.
Oh, and Romeo and Juliet are gay girls.
The show hits the ground running with an ensemble of talented and boisterous actors. Haley White and Nicole Spate play the quirky girls in love with each other and display their affections in a manner both delightfully exaggerated and whimsically sweet.
Miguel Gastelum and Casey Ballard each play multiple roles as supporting characters and propel the play by keeping the audience attentive to both the show itself and their drinking game score cards.
Audience participation plays a significant role as one member of the cast is drunk at the top of the show and several people run through the audience at various points. In addition, an audience member is chosen to play a surprise role as the story unfolds.
S’Will is the perfect example of what Shakespeare can do.
It requires no set, is fast-paced and quick-witted, pokes fun at what surrounds us, and transcends time and place.
This show hits Rogue in its perfect sweet spot: riotously funny, homespun, and perfectly eclectic. It’s a show that aims to be simultaneously silly and forthright, bridging the gap between the academic and the riotous, and it achieves that through its nonstop movement and carefully crafted script and blocking.
Located in the annexed and cozy Tower Lounge, this Rogue piece transforms a dark room into a fun and festive pub-like atmosphere as it truly puts on a show.
If you’re looking for an hour of bubbly giggles and a bit of escapism, I would wholeheartedly recommend that you see S’Will this weekend. Cheers!