From left, Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski,  Ian Andersen and Evan Zes star in "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)" at the Colorado
From left, Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski, Ian Andersen and Evan Zes star in "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)" at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. (Glenn Asakawa /University of Colorado )
If you go

What: The Colorado Shakespeare Festival's "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)"

When: 7:30 p.m. June 14, June 21, July 5, July 13, July 20, July 27, July 31 and Aug. 10; 1 p.m. June 19; 1 and 7:30 p.m. June 23 and June 30

Where: University Theatre, University of Colorado Boulder campus

Tickets: $10-$59

Info: 303-492-8008 or coloradoshakes.org

Parents' guide: Appropriate for teens; some raunchy material

It is generally accepted that William Shakespeare wrote 37 plays. He began his playwriting career with "A Comedy of Errors," and he ended with "Henry VIII."

His plays include adventures and murders, fantasies and heartbreaks. And, this week, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival touches on his entire collection with its production "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)."

Whether you are a highly regarded Shakespeare scholar, you read a few of his plays as an undergraduate, or you know nothing of the Bard's work, this play has something for you.

While the script is sidesplittingly funny, the amount of research that went into it would put any complaining Ph.D. to shame. And it's all performed with only three actors.

"Even more than other plays, it makes use of the unique attributes of the cast," director Gary Wright said. "What's exciting to me about 'Complete Works' is that every time I see it, it's different. We've got three really smart, really funny actors who love to entertain, and they're bringing a lot of new material to it."

The members of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, who originally conceived of this romp though Shakespeare's plays, encourage each new group of actors to improvise, invent, goof around and make the material unique to themselves.

This incarnation of "Complete Works" features Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski and Evan Zes, both new to the festival, and Ian Anderson, who has been with CSF for several years.

"It's a very intelligent and insightful play and irreverent at the same time," Wright said. "I think it should be required fare for Shakespeare festivals everywhere because, unless you're an expert, you're bound to learn things about Shakespeare that you didn't already know, and you're bound to see his plays in a new light and in a way that may help you appreciate them more.

"And on top of that, you have a great time."