Twelfth Night: A Shakespearean Delight

On Thursday, Ms. Doran’s Honors Shakespeare class, Mr. Anglin’s acting class, and Ms. Goldschmidt’s English 9 class went to see William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at the Westport Country Playhouse. For those unfamiliar with the play, here’s the short of it from the Playhouse’s website: “a young lady cast ashore after a violent shipwreck finds herself thrust into an adventure of cross-dressing, sexual confusion, mistaken identity and the flowering of romantic love. A story of passionate intensity, full of laughter, poetry and song, this is Shakespeare’s most beguiling and enjoyable masterpiece.” Beguiling and enjoyable, indeed. Even I, a jaded theatre critic, was rolling in my seat. Twelfth Night is arguably Shakespeare’s funniest comedy. However, it’s up to the actors to deliver, and deliver they did. The Playhouse draws an all-around experienced and talented crop of actors, but star performances came from Jordan Coughtry as Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Donnetta Lavinia Grays as Maria, and David Schramm as Sir Toby Belch. However, the most commendable performance indisputably came from Darius de Haas as Feste. His acting was superb and singing smooth, for sure, but what was most remarkable is that he performed from a wheelchair, due to a recent Achilles tendon injury. Much of his part had to be reworked around his unexpected disability, but it seemed so graceful and transitionless that it was like it had been written as such. The set and staging were strong points, as well. The prologue with the boat carrying Viola and Sebastian over rollicking waves was well choreographed behind a diaphanous scrim. Because Twelfth Night is a play that allows for very little accommodation in scene change, there was only one, unchanging set; the rightmost part was the sandy beach of Illyria, and the left was everything else. This certainly didn’t trip up the production, as everything seemed to flow smoothly. The costumes were also intriguing; the dress of different eras for almost every character contributed to the general confusion and chaos of the plot. Even with some strange artistic choices (jazz squares and The Sound of Music, anyone?), Twelfth Night was largely entertaining. As Zoë Smock ’12 (Honors Shakespeare and Acting student) said, “it was really a joy to go see.”

 

-Emily Bergmann, Staff Writer

Posted by on October 28, 2011. Filed under School News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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