By Jude Klein | April 4, 2022
Photo Credit: UAlbany Theatre Facebook page
The UAlbany Theatre Department’s production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night opened last Thursday with its first of six performances. The production, directed by UAlbany faculty member Chad Larabee, puts a modern spin on a Shakespeare classic while preserving the original text of the play.
The Performing Arts Center website calls Twelfth Night a “classic tale of gender-bending hijinks, mistaken identity, and the quest for true love,” and all of these elements are certainly delivered.
Twelfth Night tells the story of Viola and Sebastian, two siblings shipwrecked on an island. When Viola dresses as a man to disguise herself, she falls in love with the “surfer Duke” Orsino during her quest to get Olivia to fall in love with Orsino, only to make Olivia fall in love with her. Sebastian’s arrival on the island then adds to the confusion.
“We wanted to sweep the audience up in the frenzy of the story,” said Larabee.
The university’s production of Twelfth Night maintains the original Shakespearean language but adds some elements to make it more understandable and fun for a modern audience. The costumes, designed by UAlbany Theatre faculty member Reneé M. Bell, are suited to an island vibe, complete with Hawaiian shirts and boat shoes. Modern audiences will be familiar with the revamped soundtrack.
On-stage siblings Viola and Sebastian are played by real-life siblings Marilyn and Billy Feerick.
“I hope that our relationship makes Viola’s impression of Sebastian as fun to watch on stage as it is to play,” said Marilyn Feerick, a junior majoring in theatre and English who plays Viola in the production.
Missed out on this week’s performances? Twelfth Night is continuing its run through Apr. 9, with performances Wednesday, Apr. 6th at 8 pm, Thursday, Apr. 7th at 8 pm, and Saturday, Apr. 9th at 2 pm. Tickets may be purchased at the Performing Arts Center Box Office in-person or online, with discounted rates available to students, seniors, and university faculty and staff. Further information is available on the Performing Arts Center website.