Role Reversal and Chaos in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at the Bonstelle Theatre
Celebrate the Holidays with Shakespeare
DETROIT – On December 2, 2011 the Bonstelle Theatre in Detroit will open its second show of the season, William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The Bonstelle Theatre has presented three prior productions of Twelfth Night throughout its 61-year history, but this production is lead by Guest Director Alison C. Vesely, Co- Founder and Artistic Director of the First Folio Theatre in Chicago. The play runs December 2, 2011 through December 11, 2011 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Vesely uses a line from the play to sum up the production: “If music be the food of love, play on!” Twelfth Night is a comedy, filled with strong musical elements, love and mischief. The title of the play, Twelfth Night, is a reference to the twelfth night after Christmas Day, called the Eve of the Feast of Epiphany. It was originally a Pagan celebration turned Christian holiday, but had become a day of revelry at the time Shakespeare wrote the play. On Twelfth Night, servants often dressed up as their masters, men dressed as women, and so forth. This history of festive ritual and masquerading role reversal is the cultural origin of the confusion that Shakespeare incorporates in this play. It was originally written as a twelfth night’s entertainment for the close of the Christmas season in the early 1600’s.
The most notable element from Twelfth Night festivities incorporated in the play is the confusion of gender and social roles. In the play, a woman, Viola, dresses up as a man, and a servant, Malvolio, imagines that he can become a nobleman. Twelfth Night celebrations symbolized the world turning upside down. On this day, the king and all those who were high in society would become the peasants, and vice versa. Rules governing gender roles and social rank were temporarily suspended for masquerades, games and plays.
The play opens with Viola and her twin brother, Sebastian, shipwrecked on the shores of the Adriatic city of Illyria. Viola, dressed as a man and thinking Sebastian is dead, becomes the Duke Orsino’s page. Viola is then used as an intermediary in the Duke’s wooing of the Countess Olivia. “I am all the daughters of my father’s house and all the brothers too,” states Viola as her alter-ego, Cesario. Mistaken identity and conspiracy lead to all sorts of comedic woes as everyone woos the wrong person.
The cast includes (in alphabetical order):
George Abud (Grosse Pointe, MI) as Sebastian; Mackenzie Conn (Walled Lake, MI) as Fabiena; John Denyer (Dearborn, MI) as Sir Andrew; Jackie Fenton (Allen Park, MI) as a lady of the court; Ivy Haralson (Belleville, MI) as Viola; Laura Heikkinen (Livonia, MI) as Olivia; Jackson McLaskey (Mt. Clemens, MI) as Malvolio; Michael Meike (Clinton Twp, MI) as Sir Toby; Matt Miazgowicz (Dearborn, MI) as 1st Officer; Yesmeen Mikhail (Wyandotte, MI) and Bryauna Perkins (Chesterfield, MI) as ladies of the court; Luke Rose (Harrison Township, MI) as Antonio; Kelli Marie Sarakun (Grosse Pointe, MI) as Maria; Alex Schott (White Lake, MI) as 2nd Officer; Andrick Siegmund (Pleasant Ridge, MI) as Feste; Cory Thomas (St. Clair Shores, MI) as Curio; Justin Wagner (Royal Oak, MI) as Orsino; Aaron Westlake (Saint Joseph, MO) as Sea-Captain, a priest; Nicholas Yocum (Royal Oak, MI) as Valentine.
The production team includes:
Alison Vesely (Director), Katherine Skortez (Asstistant Director), Devon Davey (Stage Manager), Mike Waldrup (Assistant Stage Manager), Rudy Schuepbach (Scenic Designer), Fred Florkowski (Technical Director), Mary Copenhagen (Costume Designer), Michael Beyers (Lighting Designer), Brian Scruggs (Lighting Mentor), Gabriel Rice (Sound Designer), Alan Devlin (Props Master) and Rebecca M. Pierce (Publicist).
About the Bonstelle Theatre
The Bonstelle Theatre is a Broadway-style House with a 1,143-seat auditorium featuring a balcony. Here, future stars of theatre, film, and television follow in the footsteps of such successful alumni as Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning S. Epatha Merkerson (NBC’s Law and Order, Lackawanna Blues), Lily Tomlin (9 to 5, ABC’s Desperate Housewives) and Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters, NBC’s Heroes).
The Wayne State Theatre box office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. at the Hilberry Theatre. Tickets may be purchased at the door at the Bonstelle Theatre (3424 Woodward Avenue) one hour prior to performances. Regular tickets are available for $15 and $12 discounted tickets are available to students, seniors ages 62+, Wayne State University faculty, staff and Alumni Association members. Group discounts are also available. For more information, please visit the theatre’s website at www.bonstelle.com.
December 2, 2011 – December 11, 2011
Thursday 10 a.m. Dec. 8 (Morning Matinee)
Friday 8 p.m. Dec. 2, 9
Saturday 8 p.m. Dec. 3, 10
Sunday 2 p.m. Dec. 4, 11