Shakespeare won’t know what hit him: Lansing Community College is taking on the challenge of cramming 37 Shakespeare plays into a single night of laughs in “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).”

The play is a parody of the famous playwright’s original works. Normally, all parts are to be played by three actors, using their real names and playing themselves, rather than Shakespeare’s various characters. Director John Lennox is making a few twists of his own, making one of the roles female and adding an entirely new character to the silliness. The extra part was made with a little cutand-paste, giving lines from several of the other characters to spawn the new one. While it will bring a different dynamic to the play, Lennox said it makes for a good, unified whole.

The four roles will be played by LCC students Tobin Bates, Kenneth Glynn and Kelley McNabb and local actor Tod Humphrey.

How could four actors possibly condense 37 plays into just two hours? For starters, a lot of the plays are given just passing mentions, waved off in jokes to the crowd. All 16 of Shakespeare’s comedies are turned into one comedic segment.

Some of the bard’s plays get even more creative treatments. Shakespeare’s histories, for instance, have been turned into a football game — and they’re all done in about a minute, according to Lennox.

In contrast, “Hamlet” encompasses the entire second act, with audience members getting dragged up on stage to join in the fun.

While much of the comedy is scripted, Lennox has given his actors a little freedom in dealing with the audience. That’s where the improv kicks in.

“The fourth wall is totally nonexistent,” Lennox said. “I told the crew, ‘You know what — that’s the line in the script, you read it to the crowd, but you get ready for anything.’ You never know how they’ll react. You’ve just got to go with it.”

The production will also hit the road in mid-November, when the cast takes the show to Jackson’s Bon Ton Room.

‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)’

Community College Theatre LCC Black Box Theatre, Room 168, Gannon
Building 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays Oct. 1-9 $10 general admission; $ 5
students faculty and alumni (517) 483-1018