The Improvised Shakesepeare Company will perform at 5 and 9 p.m. Saturday at the Touhill.

No two productions by The Improvised Shakespeare Company are exactly alike. Take the troupe’s recent show in Austin, Texas where they performed productions like “A Midwinter’s Nightmare,” “Occupy Stratford on Avon” and “Hamlet Gets a New Lease on Life.”

You might notice how the titles sound vaguely familiar. The Austin audience suggested them all. Then The Improvised Shakespeare Company did their thing, which is to channel the bard for a fully improvised play in Elizabethan style.

They’ll perform at 5 and 9 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 5) in the E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Theater at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Both performances will be brimming with “thee’s” and “thou’s” and off-the-cuff comedy using the language and themes of William Shakespeare. Any of the two UMSL performances could be filled with power struggles, star-crossed lovers, sprites, kings, queens, princesses, sword play, rhyming couplets, asides, insults and persons in disguise. But both performances will be completely original as the company members follow the audiences’ lead to reveal an unplanned and unrehearsed revelation of tragedy, comedy or history.

The Chicago Tribune raved about the company’s performance and wrote “the show channels Monty Python as often as the bard, and frequently with sly-witted results.” Time Out New York called them “one of Chicago’s most-lauded pieces of live comedy.”

Tickets for The Improvised Shakespeare Company’s performances are $26-$29. They are on sale now at the Touhill Performing Arts Center ticket office; online at or by phone at 314-516-4949.

The Touhill’s ticket office is on UMSL’s North Campus, 1 University Blvd. in St. Louis County (63121).

Ryan Heinz

Ryan Heinz

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