What if Juliet wasn’t dead when Romeo returned to Verona? What if she was sleeping with another man instead?
That’s the premise behind How to Stab a Curtain, a two-act comedic twist on the works of Shakespeare from the founders of Threatless Theatre.
The play, which hits the Abrams Studio stage June 16–18, is the result of an idea that hit 19-year-old Ryerson University student Nicholas Paddison. He thought there must be a way for students to enjoy and respect the works of Shakespeare without wanting to fall asleep.
Paddison and 20-year-old Umed Abdullah founded Threatless Theatre in the hope of making shows more unique and engaging through comedy.
“Our production is aimed at students in our attempt to get the youth of Toronto interested in Shakespeare,” said Paddison, who wrote How to Stab a Curtain. “Everyone associated with the play has thought Shakespeare was boring when forced to study his works during school.
“It wasn’t until we were shown his works in a different light that we began to appreciate his plays.”
Abdullah, a student of acting at the University of Windsor, said he believes theatre has become a dying art form and he wants to change that.
“The youth today focuses more on cinema than on local theatre,” he said. “It’s a shame because theatre offers an intimacy that film simply can’t match.
“Cinema, to me, always seemed like an ethereal force that you could enjoy from afar but never be a part of, whereas theatre is the exact opposite.”
Abdullah and Paddison work closely together, often taking turns shaping different scenes to try to add as much comedy as possible while staying true to the core of the story. The pair co-directed and star in How to Stab a Curtain.
“What we’re trying to make our audience understand is that these words — whether they’re Hamlet’s ‘To be or not to be’ speech or Edmund’s first soliloquy from King Lear — have lived for hundreds of years,” Abdullah said. “They have been spoken and passed on through theatre for generations.
“Something with that potential simply can’t be overlooked and I want the youth around me to be as enthralled with that idea as I am.”
How to Stab a Curtain is set to take the stage at Abrams Studio at the Ryerson Theatre School, 46 Gerrard St. E., June 16–18. For ticket and other information, visit threatlesstheatre.ca.