Shakespeare’s plays fall into two categories: comedies and tragedies. The former typically ends with a marriage – the latter ends with a death. So how then do you adapt the tragedies in a fun way for an all ages show? L’Enfant Terrible has the answer. This local theater company is staging their adaptations of four different Shakespeare classics during their Fun Family Festival.
The festival runs throughout June and offers enjoyable adaptations intended for everyone. Adapted by Angela Berliner, the plays “frame these stories as being about families and emotions,” as their web site says. Gone are the tragic endings and bloody outcomes. Hamlet is no longer the prince of Denmark – he is now the “prince of puddles.” King Lear is set in the California Gold Rush. Macbeth fears monsters under the bed. And Titus Andronicus now features dueling circus clowns. Justing Zsebe, the director of the pieces, wants the plays to be “as universal as possible.” They are intended for all ages to enjoy, and though there are references to the original Shakespeare, L’Enfant Terrible “take as many liberties as we want,” he says.
Producer Seth Compton says that L’Enfant Terrible wants “theater that connects with the neighborhood.” The company has found a performing home at the Bootleg Theater at 220 Beverly Boulevard. The space offers live music and performance. The Fun Family Festival will run on weekend days in June. There are two shows on Saturday and one on Sunday. You can purchase a special Quarto four-pack to see all the shows for just $40 for adults and $20 for kids. L’Enfant Terrible supports itself through ticket sales, grants and donations, which are all important because this company makes sure to pay their players a union wage.
The Echo Park community, says Compton, has been supportive with ad buys and other donations. The neighborhood is also “very diverse,” notes Zsebe, which is something that the company values and hopes to honor with their work. L’Enfant Terrible hopes to inspire and connect with their audience. They offer free workshops on Sunday afternoons after the show. Saturday afternoon theatergoers can get a “peek behind the curtain,” says Compton. And those who show up for the early show on Saturday in their pajamas get a discount.
Zsebe says that the shows are intended for everyone – from “grandparents to parents to kids or yourself.” The company is “nimble” and “ready to tour,” says Compton, so get your fill of the Fun Family Festival while you can. For more information, visit their web site at lenfantterrible.org.