COMEDY FESTIVAL ‌ Star-Crossed Distraction 

A Greenville group infuses classic plays with audience-prompted humor

Distracted Globe
Sat. @ 8 p.m., Stars at the American Theater


What mirth breaks out on yonder stage? Could it be some high-class, short-form improv from Greenville, S.C.? As a matter of fact, it is, as Distracted Globe brings its high-octane adaptation of Elizabethan theatre to the Comedy Fest.

Globe audiences will be treated to edgy, post-modern versions of Shakespeare's tragedic work. In the best improv tradition, they'll also be invited to contribute their own garbled recollections of his plots to the show.

"We take what the public knows about a play," says Globe player Anne Tromsness, "and use what they provide as we interact with the theatrical text." The best suggestions are incorporated into the proceedings with wildly unpredictable results.

The concept has gone down so well Upstate that it's spawned a host of performances based on classic works, all prefixed Suddenly, as in Suddenly Hamlet. Popular targets have included Tennessee Williams, British comedy, and the Bard, with the latter being such a passion for the cast that they just can't help coming back to the original plays for more off-the-cuff demystification.

"It's fun, it's accessible, and we keep it as clean as possible," says Tromsness, "but that doesn't always happen." Shakespeare himself was no stranger to bawdy farce and dirty double-entendre; no doubt he'd be pleased that his stories are appealing to modern Southern audiences, even if Globe's Romeo likes to serenade his sweetheart with a washboard. The players plan to treat Comedy Festival audiences to some heightened teen lust in Suddenly Romeo & Juliet, but if Charleston audiences' knowledge of the play is as addled as in Greenville, expect Friar Tuck and Disney characters to be thrown into the mix. –Nick Smith

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Charleston Comedy Festival 2007

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