Reduced Shakespeare Company goes Completely Hollywood (abridged) at Edison Theatre Oct. 26 and 27

They’ve shortened Shakespeare, abbreviated the Bible and compacted Western civilization. Now the Reduced Shakespeare Company, those world-renowned “bad boys of abridgement,” return to St. Louis with Completely Hollywood (abridged), an epic edit of movie masterpieces.

The Reduced Shakespeare Company
The Reduced Shakespeare Company returns to Edison Theatre with *Completely Hollywood (abridged) * Oct. 26 and 27.

Performances, presented by the Edison Theatre OVATIONS! Series, begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26 and 27. Tickets are $30; $25 seniors and Washington University faculty and staff; and $18 for students and children. Tickets are available at the Edison Theatre Box Office and through all MetroTix outlets. Edison Theatre is located in the Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

For more information, call (314) 935-6543 or email

Written by RSC stalwarts Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, Completely Hollywood centers on a trio of egotistical Tinseltown players — the pompous Writer, whose 500-page opus critiques Hollywood cultural imperialism; the pandering Director, whose ideas run more to explosions and car chases; and the narcissistic Actor, who spends his time practicing Oscar acceptance speeches — as they squabble their way to cinematic greatness.

Amidst a flurry of arguments, one-liners and dubious Hollywood wisdom, these three would-be auteurs explain classic laws of filmmaking, such as “every movie is a remake or a combination of two earlier movies.” (For example, Unforgiven plus The Birdcage equals Brokeback Mountain.) Yet after fielding a handful of pitches — including Ghandi with the Wind and Darcy’s Angels, a Jane Austen Kung Fu flick — these cinematic savants decide to combine all the greatest movies into a single film.

The Reduced Shakespeare Company
The Reduced Shakespeare Company

The resulting (and hilarious) mess, which they describe as “epic, commercial, but with a message,” splices and dices 100 years of movie history, from Casablanca and Citizen Kane to Rocky, Star Wars, Titanic and Pulp Fiction.

The New York Times describes the Reduced Shakespeare Company as “smart, cheeky clowns who present themselves as a collective repository for most of American mass culture,” while The BBC praises Completely Hollywood as “a hilarious and speedy take on Hollywood’s highs and lows … an instant classic.”


Since starting out in 1981 as a pass-the-hat act at California Renaissance fairs, the Reduced Shakespeare Company has created five major stage shows, four television programs and numerous radio pieces.

The company’s first two shows — The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), which debuted in 1987, and The Complete History of America (abridged), which debuted in 1993 — are London’s longest-running comedies, having played in repertory at West End’s Criterion Theatre since 1996. These were followed by The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) in 1995 and Western Civilization: The Complete Musical (abridged) in 1998, giving the troupe more West End shows than Andrew Lloyd Webber.

For television, the RSC filmed a live performance of The Complete Shakespeare for PBS and wrote and starred in The Ring Reduced, a half-hour version of Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle, for Britain’s Channel 4. Other credits include reducing the Edinburgh Festival for the BBC and the soap opera Glenroe for RTE Ireland, and providing voices for Steven Spielberg’s animated film Balto.

The Reduced Shakespeare Company
The Reduced Shakespeare Company

The company’s six-part radio series, The Reduced Shakespeare Radio Show, aired on the BBC World Service in 1994. They also wrote Gone With The Wind II — Scarlet Fever for the BBC and in America are frequent contributors to National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Their holiday special, The Reduced Shakespeare Company Christmas, is broadcast annually on Public Radio International.

Completely Hollywood marks the RSC’s fourth trip to Edison Theatre, following All the Great Books in 2004; Western Civilization in 1999 and The Bible in 1996.


Founded in 1973, the Edison Theatre OVATIONS! Series serves both Washington University and the St. Louis community by providing the highest caliber national and international artists in music, dance and theater, performing new works as well as innovative interpretations of classical material not otherwise seen in St. Louis.

Edison Theatre programs are made possible with support from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; the Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis; and private contributors. The OVATIONS! Season is supported by The Mid-America Arts Alliance with generous underwriting by the National Endowment for the Arts and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

Calendar Summary

WHO: The Reduced Shakespeare Company

WHAT: Completely Hollywood (abridged)

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26 and 27

WHERE: Edison Theatre, Washington University, Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

TICKETS: $30; $25 for seniors and WUSTL faculty and staff; $18 for students and children. Available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, (314) 935-6543, and all MetroTix outlets.

SPONSOR: Edison Theatre OVATIONS! Series

INFORMATION: (314) 935-6543 or