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Shakes on a plane: Airline hosts dramatic performance

By Frances Cha, CNN
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 2132 GMT (0532 HKT)
If only our first brush with Shakespeare's plays had been this entertaining.
If only our first brush with Shakespeare's plays had been this entertaining.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A comedy troupe performed Shakespeare on an easyJet flight to Verona
  • The performance was in honor of Shakespeare's 450th birthday this week
  • The UK airline is hosting a campaign for Shakespeare's birthday to be recognized as National Shakespeare Day

(CNN) -- Add this to our list of fun ways to celebrate Shakespeare's 450th birthday this week.

Passengers on board an easyJet flight from Gatwick, England, to Verona, Italy, on April 23 became the surprise audience for an inflight performance of Shakespeare's plays.

Verona is a principal setting for Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet."

The hour-long performance -- hosted by the airline as part of a campaign to have April 23 officially recognized as National Shakespeare Day -- was put on by actors from the Reduced Shakespeare Company. (Shakespeare fans argue over April 23 or April 26 as his exact birthday.)

See a short video of the performance here.

The plane had also been emblazoned with a portrait of the playwright.

Armed with props and costumes, three actors paraded the aisle while running through abridged versions of every comedy and tragedy penned by the Bard.

MORE: 9 top cities for 'detective travel'

"We hope to set a new Guinness World Record ... for the highest ever theatrical performance," said easyJet communications director Paul Moore in a statement.

As a testament to the troupe's entertaining performance, no crotchety complaints seem to have appeared (yet) on social media about lost sleep.

"Certainly, this was the most entertaining flight I have ever taken. It was a fabulous performance and great for the children," passenger Simon Cureton told Portsmouth News.

While the airline has taken its Shakespeare Day campaign seriously, throwing free performances at airports, emblazoning the playwright on plane livery and promoting the best Shakespearean destinations in its inflight magazine, the campaign has a long way to go.

The petition had 729 signatures at the time of writing.

If it hits 100,000, it will be considered by the House of Commons Backbench Business Committee.

MORE: 15 of the world's most spectacular theaters

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