The Complete Abridged history…
In 1981 the playwrights of The Complete Works of Williams Shakespeare (Abridged) [Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield] performed a twenty-minute parody of Hamlet at Renaissance faires outside of Los Angeles and San Francisco. They developed a very physical, humorous, and action-packed play to keep the audience interested and it worked! They became very popular in the area and during the six-year weekend stint at these faires they added a Romeo and Juliet parody to their bit and continued to work on and add skits to the play as a whole.
In 1987, they finalized the original script of The Complete Works as a one hour show that premiered at Edinburgh Fringe Festival. After this, and contrary to the company believing that would be their finale, popularity increased and they ended up touring the world for years fine-tuning the piece and adding a second act where audience participation was key. The final script is what you see today. 97 minutes of Shakespeare in a fun and slap-stick parody that brings one of the most famous playwrights to modern eyes.
Throughout the years, this company has not only supplied a hysterical synopsis of Shakespeare’s plays but they have also created parodies on American History [The Complete History of America; (Abridged)], the Bible [The Bible: the Complete Word of God (Abridged)], the Musical Theatre genre [The Complete Millennium Musical (Abridge)], and more.
While cast members have come and gone, the success of the Royal Shakespeare Company is still present and it continues to be a beacon for bringing period pieces to modern times through parody and laughter.