Guest artist Gerald Leiss of the E.T.A. Hoffmann Theater of Bamberg, Germany, is one of the actors performing in”The Compleat Works of Willm Shkspr, (abridged)”April 2-6 at West Virginia University’s Creative Arts Center.

The performance is part of an ongoing cultural exchange program between the WVU Division of Theatre and Dance and the E.T.A. Hoffmann Theater.

Following the performances in Morgantown, the play will travel to Bamberg, Germany, May 4-17.

According to theatre professor Phillip Beck, who is directing the production,”The Compleat Works of Willm Shkspr, (abridged)”is a unique work, written by three actor/scholars on a holy mission to make Shakespeare fun again.

“I love Shakespeare, or at least the Shakespeare that I believe lived some 400 years ago,”Beck said.”He wasnt theimmortal bard.He was just an actor and a playwrightthe best ever. Thank God he was an actor, because he learned what worked in front of an audience. He also learned what flopped.

“More than anything, he loved writing dirty,”he added.”Somewhere, we literary and college types sanitized him, left out the filthy parts and made him a bore. Jess Borgeson, Adam Long and Daniel Singer ignored all the existing research and made discoveries on their own that will change our understanding and appreciation of this great Elizabethan writer.”

In addition to Leiss, the cast of”The Compleat Works of Willm Shkspr, (abridged)”also features WVU theatre professor Jessica D. Morgan and acting student Jeremiah Munsey.

Set and costume design is by theatre professor Troy Snyder, lighting design is by student Julya Oglivie, and stage manager is student Liz Roberson.

The cultural exchange program between WVU and the E.T.A. Hoffmann Theater began in 1997. Since then, actors from Bamberg have performed at WVU several times and also toured various cities in West Virginia. The WVU Division of Theatre and Dance made its first international tour of Germany in 1999 to perform Shakespeares”Macbeth.”

Gerald Leiss was born in Hamburg, Germany, and studied at BDDK Acting School, where he received his first contract in 1997. While living in Hamburg, he also taught acting, fencing, tap dance and magic at the new Have-A-Look-At-Acting School for Children and Youth. In 1995, he received a two-year engagement at the Theatre for Children and Youth in Bonn. In 1997, he started a two-year engagement at the Isle Theatre in Karlsruhe, and since 1999 he has been a member of the E.T.A. Hoffmann Theatre company. He visited Morgantown in 1997 to present the show”Just Dont Panic, A Century Is Over Before You Know It.”

He has played Mercutio in Shakespeares”Romeo and Juliet,”Ferdinand in”The Tempest,”and the Fool in”Twelfth Night.”

Performances of”The Compleat Works of Willm Shkspr, (abridged)”begin at 7:30 p.m. each evening in the Vivian Davis Michael Theatre of the Creative Arts Center. Seating is limited.

Tickets are $12 for the general public, $11 for WVU faculty/staff and senior citizens, and $9 for students and children. For tickets and information, call the Mountainlair Box Office at (304) 293-SHOW.

For more information about College of Creative Arts events, check the online calendar at http://www.wvu.edu/~ccarts/ .