What it's about.
Twelfth Night is one of William Shakespeare’s many comedies - and my personal favorite - with one of the most bizarre love (squares?) of all time. We have Viola and Sebastian, twins separated at shipwreck. Viola disguises herself as Cesario and serves for Duke Orsino who she loves. Duke Orsino loves Countess Olivia who loves Viola as Cesario but eventually marries Sebastian. Wild? I know.
This particular day wasn’t my ideal day for theatre. Not only was it snowing which makes me naturally not want to move from bed but, I was also recovering from a pretty awful stomach bug. I wasn’t in good cheer and I certainly wasn’t in the mood to sit through a Shakespeare production which is always guaranteed to be long. I wore the wrong shoes and everywhere I turned, I was surrounded by crowds of people dressed like Santa Claus. I later found out it was Santa Con that day. Didn’t know that was a thing.
The theatre was disguised as a coffee shop on first glance. I actually walked right past it at first. Coffee shop in the front, theatre in the back? What a genius business idea, I wish I thought of first. The set up of the theatre was stunning! Not only was it very intimate and small but it had a very holiday, rustic vibe to it including a lot of wooden accent pieces and delicate lighting. The perfect ambiance for a cold, snowy day. Immediately upon taking my seat, I felt at ease there. All that was missing was hot chocolate and a warm fireplace.
The show begins and I’m in my happy place. I may or may not have spent a few minutes at the beginning matching every character on stage to those in the movie She’s The Man with Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum which I learned a few years ago is based on this very play. The boarding school they attend in the movie is actually called Illyria. That excites me more than it should.
Being familiar with the text of this play, I was able to sit back and just enjoy the choices that Fiasco Theater Company decided to make. I forgot to mention previously that I’m a very lowkey Fiasco stalker after seeing some of their productions numerous times while working at the Theatre for a New Audience over the past few years. I’m obsessed with them. As expected, I was in awe of how comfortable they are not only on stage but with Shakespeare’s text. I found myself laughing out loud countless times watching the actors take Shakespeare’s words and bring so much life and physicality to them. They also incorporated live music into it as they usually do which I really loved. I also weirdly noticed that everyone’s costume had a neutral, rustic warmth to it.
My favorite part of the entire show was watching the cast off stage. They never actually leave, so we get to see them off to the side when they’re not in a scene. I couldn’t stop glancing over at them every time someone did something funny on stage just to find them laughing as well. That even happened on stage a few times. It was fun watching them all enjoy their work, not taking it too seriously but still delivering what I consider a professional experience. Seeing them have so much fun made the audience experience for me that much more exciting.
I loved every second of being in that theatre. I love Fiasco Theater Company and I love Willy Shakes. I don’t love leaving that all behind for more snow. But can’t love it all right?
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