TUPS presents “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare”


Andrew Walker (he/him, 2023, Political Science and Sociology major)and Xander Hancock (he/him, 2022, Business Administration with a Concentration in Marketing, and Spanish). Photo credit: Claire Sammons

photo by Claire Sammons

Hearing Shakespeare’s name takes me back to high school English classes where weeks upon weeks of his works were covered in excruciating detail. Here at Trinity, however, the Trinity University Players (TUPS) have a new approach to engaging us in his playwriting.

Before the pandemic hit, TUPS prided itself on putting on shows by students, for students. Being separated from the theatre department, particularly, has given TUPS more room to open their doors to students who may have not been a part of theatre before joining the Trinity community. Specifically, to make anyone on campus feel included and to reject the notion that one must be “good enough” to act in shows and foster community with other theatre enthusiasts.

“We became our own separate thing so that we could be more of a social club and have more opportunities for students to have fun and do theatre,” said Ramos.

This fervor for making theatre fun and accessible surely stands at the forefront of TUPS’ work nowadays as well. In Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield’s “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare,” TUPS actors will cover all thirty-seven of Shakespeare’s plays in a funny and satirical manner. With each section of the play being acted differently, one can expect to see unconventional styles of acting through sports analogies, fan-fiction references, and many other styles woven into classical Shakespearean works.

Co-directors and seniors Anthony Tresca and Wren Ramos took on this play in a way that could engage anyone in theatre during a time where art can be inaccessible to many.

“Accessibility was a big thing that drew us both to the show, theatre can be pretentious and can talk down to audiences; we wanted to do something as anti-pretentious and accessible as possible,” said Tresca.

In addition to ensuring the show is likable and light-hearted, the co-directors took steps to re-write pieces of the play that are outdated. With the permission of the original authors and in addition to making the show more accessible, they worked to filter out rather problematic aspects of the original play in order to make it audience appropriate and inclusive.

“There was a lot of rampant racism and sexism within the show that we wanted to exclude. It was written in the eighty’s, and we wanted to tailor it for Trinity,” said Tresca.

The show faced some challenges in its production, as actors and directors have put social distancing practices at the forefront of their work before safely presenting the play to the public. Every actor is masked and, throughout the entire show, stays six feet apart from others. This has posed some new challenges regarding facial acting and the usual touchy, slapstick nature that Shakespeare can lend itself to.

“A lot of the expressions we use have to come from above the nose because we’re all wearing masks,” describes Andrew Walker, sophomore at Trinity and actor in the show.

The task of creating theatrical practices that accommodate social distancing has created some avenues for opportunity within TUPS and the broader theatre community, though.

“I think theatre in general has undergone an evolution during the pandemic in making shows available virtually. I think there is merit to learning how to present shows virtually and to help give shows to those who can’t be here physically,” said Walker.

Ramos also spoke to the value of practicing theatre during a time where people are distant from one another and where community is key.

“COVID taught people to be very independent,” said Ramos. “Not only how to be independent, but how to reach out to your communities. We’ve become very reliant on ourselves as well as our members to help us get stuff done.”

TUPS’ “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” will premiere on the 6th, 7th, and 8th of November. It will take place in Laurie Auditorium on all three dates, and over Zoom for the final date. For those on Zoom, the performance is free while in-person attendees will pay $5 for tickets. If you are interested in RSVPing to watch the show, sign-up through the online form, which can be found on the group’s Instagram, @tups_official.