Skip to main content

Shakes on a plane: Airline hosts dramatic performance

By Frances Cha, CNN
updated 5:32 PM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
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
updated 1:56 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
From Maastricht to Melbourne, these itineraries make bookish travelers look stylish.
updated 4:58 AM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
Good cocktails combine with spectacular views across rivers, cityscapes and oceans at these bird-level drinkeries.
updated 2:09 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
A California homeowner's nightmare has become a cautionary tale for those who rent their homes to strangers.
updated 10:26 PM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Cinema loves portraying the lives of expats. Sometimes it gets it right. Sometimes it casts Nick Nolte as a jungle king.
updated 9:17 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Don't be intimidated, says a local expert. Here's how to do China without the hassles
updated 8:33 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
When your city has an unenviable reputation for insulting tourists and fleecing them for every cent, inviting hotel guests to pay what they want could be a risky move.
updated 3:10 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
1937 Auto Union V16 Streamliner, Audi Museum, Germany
With factory tours and collections of stunning vintage prototypes, southern Germany is petrolhead paradise.
updated 9:44 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Every tourist destination has a flip side, a season when prices go down and savvy, flexible travelers can score big savings.
updated 3:11 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A Marrakech lamp bazaar
Morocco's Red City is crammed with stunning gardens, shaded souks and steamy bath houses.
updated 12:52 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Santo Stefano Island, Italy
Pristine beaches, unspoiled nature and few tourists -- a stretch on these former penal colonies is no longer a punishment.
updated 3:49 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Life in Joburg can be stressful. Luckily there are some exceedingly non-stressful places close by.
updated 5:07 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Istanbul skyline
CNN's Ivan Watson pays homage to the city he's called home for the past 12 years.
China notches up another superlative achievement as a Nanjing-based artist creates the world's largest and longest anamorphic painting.
updated 4:02 PM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
In what is undoubtedly the world's "coolest" surf video, photographer Chris Burkhard endures freezing temperatures, blizzards and injury to capture Arctic waves and their riders.
updated 11:39 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Few airline routes are as cutthroat as the one that travels between London and New York. It is the world's busiest route and there are few lengths airlines won't go to in the hopes of getting a piece of the action.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT