Yesterday I was fortunate enough to go to a high-school performance of `Twelfth Night' one of my favorite Shakespeare comedies. The group did an excellent job. The audience sat right on the edge of the stage. We were told that if a character asked a question, we should answer. The idea was to make the experience as close to time-period as possible. (Well... minus the throwing things at the actors.) I had no idea Shakespeare was so fond of breaking the fourth wall.
The set was very minimalistic. It could have been done in an open park or (in Shakespeare's time) in the courtyard of an inn. I was impressed by how much the actors did with no backdrops and few props. They had a stool and a bench they whisked on and off stage. Without scene changes, the action never lagged.
Because of the difference in Shakespeare's language and because of his reputation as a literary figure, it's easy to forget that Shakespeare's plays are all about entertainment. People tend to put distance between him and modern audiences with elaborate sets that scream `this is archaic'. It was nice to see a performance that took away all the false trappings and just left a really great, entertaining story of the sort Shakespeare is so famous for.