Theater department impresses with Shakespeare comedy ‘Twelfth Night’

Lexy Connolly

Sword fights, love triangles and stolen identities are just a few of the many thrilling aspects of Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night, which was put on by the theater department on Oct. 29-31 in the Black Box Theater.

Anyone who has seen the movie She’s the Man is familiar with the twisted and complicated plotline of the play. However, while She’s the Man goes as far as using the same — many times outdated — character names to stay true to Shakespeare’s story, the movie takes place in a modern boarding school, while the play takes place in the late 16th-century Balkan Coast.

Twelfth Night follows the story of Viola (junior Claire McCaslin), a young woman who takes on the identity of her twin brother to get a position in the service of Duke Orsino (senior Casey Curry). The duke, a hopeless romantic, is in love with a wealthy countess, Olivia (senior Grace Stanley). When Viola is sent to deliver messages from Orsino to Olivia, the countess falls in love with the messenger, believing her to be a man.

Meanwhile, Viola is falling in love with the Duke, beginning the entanglement of misplaced affection. The Duke is in love with Olivia, Olivia is in love with Viola’s disguise and Viola is in love with the Duke. The events that follow shape the chaotic storyline that leave those who are capable of following it in stitches.

The theater department truly captured the 16th-century Shakespearian vibe in the play’s set and costumes. Upon walking into the Black Box Theater, the audience was sent back in time with the dimmed lights, soft background music and simplistic, but elegant, furniture. When the court jester (senior Emma Garrison) pranced out to sing the introductory hymn, it was clear that few details were overlooked when it came to the costumes and makeup.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the production was the actors’ ability to make the story development comprehensive while it was spoken in Old English that much of the audience would normally have difficulty understanding. Each character’s distinctive traits were overdramatized by the actors, making it clear what their intentions were and how they each contributed to the storyline. The chemistry on stage was incredible, and the mutual trust between cast members was apparent.

Not a word was mispronounced, not a gesture was made awkwardly and not a joke was delivered poorly, allowing the audience to abandon their outside realities for the two hours that the performance lasted and get lost in the enchanting times of Shakespeare.

The next play that the theater department will be performing is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on Nov. 20-21 in the Black Box Theater.