By: Michael Miller and Neha Badade
The last time High School North thespians performed Shakespeare was back in 2004, with Much Ado About Nothing. That is why the cast and crew of the fall drama are thrilled to announce that Twelfth Night, one of Shakespeare’s many comedies, will be performed at WW-P from November 16th to 18th.
The announcement has excited both students and staff members alike. “This will be the first Shakespeare play I have worked on, which is incredibly exciting because reading Shakespeare’s plays is one of the things that inspired my interest in acting,” said senior Nicole Potenza, the assistant director for Twelfth Night.
In the embracing the spirit and history of Shakespeare at North, the cast and crew are bringing back an old set design from Much Ado About Nothing. During the first two fall dramas at North (2001 and 2002), the cast and crew allowed the audience to sit on the stage. Sitting on stage in front of the actors as the plot twists and deepens immerses the audience in the action of the play, rendering the experience more thrilling. Twelfth Night will use a similar set design and also invite audience members to climb on stage.
For those who are unfamiliar with Twelfth Night, it, like other Shakespearean classics, is breathtaking, and slightly hectic. The story begins as girl named Viola gets shipwrecked off the coast of Illyria (part of ancient Greece) during a violent storm, and loses her twin brother Sebastian in the process. In order to stay protected, she disguises herself as a man named Cesario. As the story continues, Viola gets herself in trouble for her disguise. “Cesario” is caught in a love triangle while being forced to help Orsino the Duke win over the object of his affections, a woman named Olivia. As the Duke’s love deepens, and Olivia falls in love with “Cesario”, Viola is trapped. “There are some scenes where things get a little saucy and just unexpected…hopefully, it will catch [people] off guard,” said senior Shaheera Hussein, an actress who plays one of Olivia’s Assistants. , Shakespeare fanatic or not, the play is filled with many surprises and countless twist and turns that anyone can appreciate
Although the play is meant to be fun for all, whether or not they are fully schooled in the art of iambic pentameter, Shakespeare fans will appreciate that the script reflects all of the nuances Shakespeare included in his writing. Ms. Goodkin, Head Director for Twelfth Night, is proud that North’s adaptation is staying true to the original text, but admits “Getting the pronunciations and fluidity right can be burdensome,”.
Many of the actors are facing challenges in reciting their lines (that are written in Old English), but it is not stopping the crew, Assistant Director Mr. Corriveau, and Head Director Ms. Goodkin—all dedicated contributors—from delivering on the countless hours of hard work they have put into making their performances as comedic and hectic as was intended. The production members have been commendably busy with all of the details, from selecting the cast to designing the costumes and the set.
Twelfth Night will stay true to Shakespeare’s original composition in both text and plot. “We hope the audience laughs, sighs and feels for the characters as their stories play out on the stage,” said Goodkin.