by William Shakespeare
Directed by Greg Harris, produced by Karla Weber ~ Presented by Strollers Theatre, ltd.
Shipwrecked twins. A lovesick duke and a countess in mourning. A social-climbing servant and the drunken partiers who want to take him down. Shakespeare’s classic comedy receives a modern twist in this production from the director of Strollers’ successful 2013 A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Propelled by the case of mistaken identity at its heart, Twelfth Night takes audiences to the land of Illyria where revelry, disguises and pining lovers abound. The tale centers on shipwrecked Viola, who, thinking her identical twin lost at sea, disguises herself as the young man ‘Cesario’ to serve Illyria’s Duke Orsino. The Duke repeatedly – but unsuccessfully – sends Cesario as an intermediary to woo the beautiful Olivia, who falls head over heels for Cesario. Add a singing fool and an elaborate practical joke – chaos ensues!
Shakespeare draws on the carnivalesque spirit Elizabethans associated with Twelfth Night – the Feast of the Epiphany in the Roman Catholic Church. The play presents a world of disorder characteristic of the celebration, where social norms are disregarded and gender roles inverted. Director Greg Harris’ production takes place in the present. His relatable interpretation focuses on the fluid nature of desire and emphasizes the boisterous comedy underlying the themes of inversion and disguise.