Studio 1 brings ‘Twelfth Night’ to life

Studio 1 is presenting a youth production of William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." / Steven Mantilla, Times-News

By Abby Chester
Times-News correspondent

   William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” is one of his more comedic plays. It centers on a set of twins and the adventures that they go through in order to find each other after a devastating ship wreck. Viola, who is the twin sister of Sebastian, ends up after the wreck in the kingdom of Illyria, where the Duke Orsino is trying to gain the love of the beautiful Lady Olivia.
Olivia rejects his pursuits because of her mourning for her recently dead brother and refuses to show any sign of attraction to anyone. Meanwhile, Viola, trying to find a job, stumbles across the court of Lady Olivia and asks if she could work in Olivia’s home. But Olivia refuses to talk to any strangers, thus leaving Viola without a job. Finally, after a hard decision, Viola disguises herself as a man, taking the name of Cesario, and goes to work in Orsino’s court, where she falls madly in love with him. From the routinely drunk Sir Toby (Tyler Haugle), the strict steward Malvolio (Kayla Korzekwinski), and the witty and clever handmaiden Maria (Lizz Matthews), this show will leave you laughing all the way home.
Wayne Leonard, an experienced director with Studio 1 and other local theater companies, has worked hard to help the cast own their respective characters and to teach them to go out of their comfort zone to really make their characters the best they can be. But Leonard has given the show a twist. The show features the characters as people from modern-day sitcoms, along with Shakespeare’s characters in the original play. Leonard has chosen characters from multiple sitcoms, some being “Friends,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “Big Bang Theory” and others.
“People who are unfamiliar with the sitcoms are still able to watch the show. You do not need to be familiar with these characters, but if you are, then there are many references to them in the show that add a layer of fun to the whole experience,” he said.
This has all been done to give viewers an easier understanding of what the “Twelfth Night” characters are like. He has chosen characters from these TV shows that he thinks represent the personality in Shakespeare’s original work.
“I think it’s definitely a new take on a Shakespeare classic that everyone should experience,” said Chase Wilson, who plays Orsino/Joey Tribbiani (“Friends”).
For the cast, even though the script may have been challenging, they are understanding the Shakespearean material and are taking it to new heights. Madison Kimrey, who plays Viola/Mary Ann Summers (Gilligan’s Island) describes the show as “challenging, but it has been a fun experience playing two characters from different times.”
If you want to come see this play, showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. April 8-9, 2 p.m. April 10, 7:30 p.m. April 15-16 and 2 p.m. April 17, 2016, in the Sara McMillan Brown Theatre at Studio 1, 1332 Plaza Drive, Burlington. Tickets are $11 and can be purchased at studio1online.org or by calling (336) 534-0321.

Abby Chester is an eighth-grader at Western Alamance Middle School and a Teens & 20s writer.

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