Jeremy Buoy brings a dream to life with WSU’s first theatre tour in over a decade



The lightning slapstick comedy of “Shakespeare Abridged” comes to life on stage as Jeremy Buoy directs off camera.

Presenting all of Shakespeare’s plays in the runtime of a single production isn’t exactly traditional. Yet, when WSU Theatre Performance senior Jeremy Buoy wanted to direct “The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged),” it wasn’t the play itself that was the problem. The theatre just didn’t have an open spot in its schedule for the play to be presented. So Jeremy leapt at the opportunity to buck tradition in another way — he became the director of Wichita State’s first touring theatre production in over a decade.

The road wasn’t an easy one, but Buoy was determined to do the play anyway.

“Part of the difficult part for me was contacting and getting consent to come [to each venue],” Buoy said.

He met with the drama programs of Wichita high schools across the district in order to get each show off the ground. Putting in the foundational work eventually allowed Buoy to make the ambitious, complex project a reality.

Even after the dates for the play were set, there was the matter of making content high-school appropriate.

“With all the high schools, I sent out the scripts so they could let me know if there’s anything we needed to change,” Buoy said.

With Kapaun Mt. Caramel, a Catholic high school, Buoy had to specially amend the script.

“The words I had to cut were ‘bitch’ and ‘shit,’ even though you hear that on TV almost every day,” Buoy said.

Even with all the groundwork laid, the tour was still an intimidating prospect.

“Touring it in itself was a risk — not knowing how well it would play off or if schools would enjoy it,” Buoy said.

Thankfully, Buoy had the drive and experience to make the show’s success likely. He’s been engaged with theatre since high school, first working on the technical side before successfully auditioning for his school’s one act plays. His acting and technical experience have both informed him as a director.

“As an actor, I prefer when the director is more hands-off in a sense and lets you have the character,” Buoy said.

He loves being able to incorporate his own temperament and life experience into the characters, and he says this understanding gave him the drive to let his actors do the same.

“It allowed me to be more free in my direction,” Buoy said.

His range of experience on the technical side also gave him the ability to handle the vast amount of responsibilities required to bring a chaotic comedy like “Shakespeare (Abridged)” together.

“It even comes down to little things like props and your set and how that all works together to create the whole aspect and story of the show,” Buoy said. “With a comedy, you have to build in essentially to allow for and gauge timing with laughs.

“You never know what an audience will laugh at.”

Under Buoy’s guidance, the show was a huge success. Each school received the play really well, Buoy said, and WSU has been invited back to do more productions in the future. That probably has a lot to do with Buoy’s intentions with the play in the first place. With “Shakespeare (Abridged),” he aimed to bring life to Shakespeare through the kind of witty and physical humor that often gets missed in the classroom. As a comedic actor himself who looks to actors like Zach Galifinakis for effective humor, Buoy was especially drawn to the play’s ability to make the most of Shakespeare’s material.

“Not all Shakespeare is dry . . . It can be very funny and highly entertaining, and it’s still highly relevant to today’s society,” Buoy said. “The scene I loved the most was also the most difficult scene in the show. At the very end of the play they run Hamlet — all of Act 2 is Hamlet — they run Hamlet fast, then faster, then backwards fast.”

Buoy’s love of theatre runs deep. He’s found support from family members that has propelled him forward, especially from his grandmother, who attended his shows even when he had an unsubstantial part. As much as Buoy has given the community by bringing comedy to the high schools of Wichita, he said he gains back in experience and love of the theatre.

“I’ve learned a lot about myself — especially when directing,” Buoy said. “It helped me to confirm future career plans and also helped me to become more confident about myself and my abilities.”