Here’s the good news: not content with carving up the Bard’s epic works, the Reduced Shakespeare Company have applied their mad abridging skills to the Lord’s two testaments.
Reed, is there more comedy in the Bible than most people realise?
We’ve managed to find the humour that previous theologians have missed. Like Moses’ first words when he came down from Mount Sinai: “Listen up, children of Israel. I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is I got him down to ten. The bad news is adultery is still one of them.”
In the New Testament, who was funnier? Matthew, Mark, Luke or John?
Actually the funniest was a guy named Larry, but the other four were jealous so they turned him over to the Romans.
How hard was it to condense the Bible into two acts?
It takes us about a year from the moment we begin to write until we feel the show is finished. Our approach is simple – cut out all the minor characters and unimportant subplots and get right to the sex and the killing, which is what people really want to see.
You tour the world... have there been any regions that haven't received this show so favourably on account of its religious content?
We’ve occasionally had protesters, but inevitably they’ve never seen the show. So we invite them into the theatre and they are won over. Sister Maryann Walsh of the Catholic Herald said this about the show in a review: “It’s wacky. It’s zany. And a little profaney.”
Have you tweaked the content for Australia to get anything topical in?
Oh, yes. We always tweak the show to incorporate local and topical jokes. Once we arrive we read the papers, watch the news and interrogate the locals. We like to say we are as funny as our local stage crew.
How do you deal with hecklers in such a fast-paced show?
Well, it’s a show about the Bible, so we forgive them.
What would Jesus do if he were to attend one of your shows?
He’d cure the sick jokes.
Seeing as you guys are so great at abridgement, describe what audience members can expect from your show in no more than five words.
Nausea and motion sickness.
What other texts are ripe for abridging, if you had a spare lifetime?
We’re thinking of doing One Shade of Grey.