Mistaken identity? Romance? Misbehaviour? All that and more can be found in Theatre UBC’s production of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, which sets the classic play during a New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration and is currently delighting audiences at the Frederic Wood Theatre.
Directed by Stephen Heatley, a faculty member with UBC’s Theatre department, and showcasing the talents of UBC BFA students (both on stage and behind-the-scenes), Theatre UBC’s adaptation of Twelfth Night is entertaining from beginning to end and offers something for all audience members. Whether you go to see some of UBC’s finest thespians give outstanding performances, or to marvel at the play’s breath-taking set and jazzy original music, your trip to the Frederic Wood Theatre will not be one you’ll soon regret.
The play intersects the stories of a variety of lovers and schemers at court, as they explore ideas of identity, gender and class. Following a separation from her twin brother, our heroine Viola masquerades as “Cesario,” a man-servant at the service of Duke Orsino, who pines for the beautiful Olivia, who in turn is infatuated by the sensitive “Cesario,” who is really Viola! Also at play are the escapades of Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, Maria and Fabienne, a quartet of courtiers who scheme to pull one over on the haughty Malvolia, Olivia’s steward. Full of instances of mistaken identity, unrequited love and outrageous pranks, Twelfth Night will have you laughing from beginning to end, as each character is performed to perfection by the cast.
Set during the middle of a wild New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration, rather than in 16th century Illyria, the production puts a modern twist on Shakespeare’s classic tale. Complete with vibrantly coloured costumes, a jazzy soundtrack and a plethora of Mardi Gras beads (some of which were given out by cast-members to the audience at intermission), theatre-goers will feel like they’ve been transported down to Louisiana for the evening. These thematic elements are complemented by the pitch-perfect delivery of Shakespeare’s classic language, which the cast has mastered in their performances (undoubtedly no easy feat.) All in all, this unique setting for the play is smart, creative and very, very fun and audiences will enjoy this fresh take on the Bard.
The talent and passion of the performers on stage is what makes this production so remarkable to watch. Aside from their mastery of Shakespearean language, each member of the cast also has an incredible gift for timing and physical comedy, which helps makes the content relatable for everyone, no matter what their previous experience is with the play. Additionally, as another modern twist, many of the players adapt roles which were originally written for the opposite gender and expertly embody this transition as they deliver their performances. Overall, the BFA students who bring Twelfth Night to life are powerful and professional in their performances and it is obvious they have a bright future on the stage ahead of them.
If you are interested in taking in a fun, polished and professional production at UBC this month, then look no further than Theatre UBC’s Twelfth Night. The reasonable ticket prices offer a great opportunity for a night out with friends or family (or maybe even a date night!) Additionally, you can also see the performance for free if you volunteer to usher. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Frederic Wood Theatre box-office and the show runs from September 25th-October 11th. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to witness some of UBC’s finest performers in action!
-Written by Ian Schultz, UBCevents Communications Assistant