An evening of laughter awaits audiences of Theatre-at-Tusculum’s latest production, Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “Twelfth Night.”
The hilarious production opens at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 20, in the Behan Arena Theatre, located on the lower level of the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Building on the Tusculum College campus. Performances are also scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, as well as Friday, Feb. 27, and Saturday, Feb. 28. Sunday matinee performances will be at 2 p.m. Feb. 22 and March 1.
A cast of 17 under the direction of Marilyn duBrisk bring to life the play that is considered Shakespeare’s finest and most popular romantic comedy, a tale of full of mistaken identities, scorned love, bawdy drinking songs, sword fights, intrigue, humiliation and joyful reunions.
While it may seem incredible that a play written more than 400 years ago is relevant today, Shakespeare had the ability to hold up a mirror to the foibles of men and women. His characters are not a reflection of any particular place, but are a reminder that men and women of all ages and backgrounds share similar hopes and fears.
The cast consists of some of Greeneville’s finest actors as well as a few exciting newcomers. Duke Orsino, (played dramatically by Doug Presley), is in love with the beautiful Countess Olivia, (Brandi Ricker). Into this story of thwarted love, comes the lovely Viola, (newcomer Martha-Grace Burkey), who has just been shipwrecked and thanks to the ship’s captain, (Wess duBrisk), she narrowly escapes with her life.
However, she fears her twin brother, Sebastian, (played by Kenny Hamer) has drowned. Viola decides to dress as a boy and join Duke Orsino’s court as a page and chooses the name Cesario. The Duke takes a liking to Cesario and sends her to plead his case to the Countess Olivia.
Much of the hilarity of the play comes from those in Olivia’s household - her drunken uncle, Sir Toby Belch, (played by Chris Greene), Sir Andrew Auguecheek (Brian Ricker), whom Sir Toby wants to marry his niece; her chambermaid Maria, (Angela Bride), Malvolio, (Mike Lilly), her pompous steward, and Fabian, a fun loving servant. Last, but by no means least, Feste, (Sterling Bean), her jester, who winds his merry and tuneful way throughout the play.
The plot then thickens when Sebastian, Viola’s twin, appears after having been rescued from the sea by the brave and courageous Antonio (Robbie Poteete). Supporting this rich cast are the Duke’s Gentlemen played by Will Chilcutt and Dallon Jones and two ladies-of-the-court Brittany Connolly and Hannah Stryker.
Assisting duBrisk, artist-in-residence at Tusculum, with the staging of the play are Frank Mengel, technical director and stage manager for Tusculum Arts Outreach; Barbara Holt, overseeing the colorful costumes, and Angie Clendenon, music director.
Ticket prices are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors 60 and over, and a special rate of $5 for all students. For more information, please contact Tusculum College Arts Outreach at 423-798-1620 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.