From Amerigo Vespucci to George W. Bush, “The Complete History of America – Abridged” is a high-energy, laugh-out-loud and at times offensive recap of the last 600 years. The theatre department’s winter quarter main stage production crams sketch comedy, slapstick, film noir, vaudeville and Japanese puppet theater into just under two hours.
The show begins with three students – Robert Shields, Mauricio Soto and Devin Caldarone – who discuss how the United States was formed. Along the way, they impersonate and poke fun of famous and not-so-famous figures, such as George Washington, Betsy Ross, Richard Nixon and a witch-hunting pastor in Salem. Each actor plays upwards of 15 characters, each with a different accent, affectation and costume.
“It’s almost like watching Saturday Night Live,” says director Bernardo Solano, assistant professor of theatre. “Lots of satire, lots of irony, lots of comedy.”
Although the play relies on slapstick and in-your-face comedy, it brings a strong point of view, Solano adds. The actors don’t shy away from controversy and confront issues of war, civil rights, terrorism, gay marriage, faith and education.
“This play gives credit to cultures that are part of the making of America. It takes Manifest Destiny to task and raises questions about the Native Americans and other disenfranchised people,” Solano says.
Opening night is Friday, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. Other performance dates are Saturday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m., March 4 at 8 p.m., March 3 at 10 a.m., March 5 & 6 at 8 p.m. and March 7 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for students, seniors, faculty and staff. Pack the Theatre Night tickets on Feb. 27 are $5. For more information, visit www.class.cpp.edu/th/shows.