Nicholas Kjeldgaard gave the idiom “break a leg” new meaning. Two weeks before opening night of “The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged,” Kjeldgaard broke his leg, forcing him to drop out of the play.
“We’d been working on the play for over a month. It was terrible. I felt like I just let everyone down,” said Kjeldgaard, a sophomore broadcast journalism major.
Kjeldgaard broke his leg while skateboarding outside of the Caf.
Luckily, Luciano Gallegos, a senior and theatre major at PLNU, auditioned for the play and replaced Kjeldgaard. The three cast members – Russell Clements, Billy Holland and now Gallegos – rushed to perfect their lines.
“He had to learn his lines really quickly,” said Holland, a junior theatre major.
Despite Kjeldgaard’s broken leg, Clements, a junior theatre major at PLNU, had other concerns prior to the show.
“Being in a three person play is quite the pressure,” said Clements. “We have to be on our game and work off each other with infectious energy and dedication.”
Clements was not the only person with doubts.
“It’s hard for someone to learn their lines in a week and a half and still be a student,” said Communication and Theatre Professor Paul Bassett, the show’s director. Kjeldgaard mentioned that this was one of Bassett’s favorite plays.
Despite the concerns, the show kicked off Nov. 6-9 with help from professor Jeannie Galioto, the costume designer, PLNU alumnus Brian Redfern,the set designer and SDSU alumnus Luke Olsen, the lighting designer. Senior Kayla Morale, a liberal studies major, and freshman Leah Sharer, a theatre major, were the stage managers for the show.
The play opened up with slices from Shakespeare’s famous play, “Romeo and Juliet.” The play sold over 30 tickets each night. During the evening, the cast quoted 37 Shakespeare plays, but still had room for improvisation.
“I promised these people that I wouldn’t make Shakespeare lifeless and boring,” Holland said during the play.
According to freshman Clayton Battes, Holland kept his promise.
“It was very interesting and comedic. I thought it was going to be a lot more serious,” said Battes.
After intermission, the cast had one hour left to perform their last Shakespearean play, “Hamlet.” So the cast members decided to interact with the audience.
The audience was then broken into three sections, representing different traits of Ophelia, one of the main figures in “Hamlet.” The first sectionn represented Ophelia’s oppression; the second, Ophelia’s sexual desire to be with Hamlet and the third, Ophelia’s relevance in the 21st century. As the cast performed, each section responded on cue.
“It was overall a great play,” said Battes.
The cast will continue their three man show on Nov. 22, during homecoming week, in Salomon Theatre at 7:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office before the show.