Skip to main content

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

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
Nonprofit Ethical Traveler has released its annual list of the developing countries doing the most to promote human rights and preserve their environments.
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1036 GMT (1836 HKT)
These waterfront watering holes have killer ocean views, creative drinks and the mahalo vibe we demand.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 2038 GMT (0438 HKT)
Can't wait to book your ticket to Indianapolis and Oakland? The venerable guidebook is right there with you
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 0625 GMT (1425 HKT)
By helicopter, snowmobile and big-wheel truck across some of the world's most volatile landscapes.
December 9, 2014 -- Updated 2142 GMT (0542 HKT)
Construction begins on a new Singapore airport complex that could make delays and layovers a pleasure.
December 9, 2014 -- Updated 1441 GMT (2241 HKT)
Inflight chatterboxes are annoying but they're not the worst violators of onboard etiquette, according to an Expedia study.
December 8, 2014 -- Updated 2232 GMT (0632 HKT)
These statues are awe-inspiring even for the strongest of non-believers.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 1659 GMT (0059 HKT)
The Palace of the Parliament, built by former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
25 years after the death of Romania's communist dictator, tourism is helping heal old wounds.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 1152 GMT (1952 HKT)
Photo sharing website names the top 10 destinations for geo-tagged snapshots.
December 3, 2014 -- Updated 1005 GMT (1805 HKT)
New York may be a paradise of Zagat-rated, Michelin-starred restaurants, but some of its best food can be found on the streets.
December 2, 2014 -- Updated 0601 GMT (1401 HKT)
Guide Lebo behind the wheel of Chobe Game Lodge's first electric game viewing vehicle, at Chobe National Park in Botswana.
Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana ups the eco stakes with what it claims is world's first battery-powered safari fleet.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0118 GMT (0918 HKT)
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
These quirky and beautiful subway stops make standing cheek-to-cheek with 45 strangers almost seem fun.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
A scene from a desert safari in Dubai
Luxury vintage Land Rover tours explore Bedouin backwaters without bashing up precious dunes.
ADVERTISEMENT