Examiner Review of “Twelfth Night”

On the twelfth day of Christmas, the Bonstelle gives to you … Shakespeare.

Patty Nolan, Detroit Theater Examiner

For the original article, click here.

‘If music be the food of love, play on!’

This famous line opens William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the second show of the season for WSU’s Bonstelle Theatre in Detroit.

Guest Director Alison C. Vesely, Co- Founder and Artistic Director of the First Folio Theatre in Chicago, uses the quote as an apt summary for this production, which is generously filled with lovely music from beginning to end. Much of this music comes courtesy of gifted senior BFA Actor Andrick Siegmund, as Feste, who performs many of the songs accompanied by his own guitar. Simple. Sweet. Effective.

Vesely directed the Hilberry Theatre’s powerful production of Richard III last season and returned to WSU and the undergraduate Bonstelle cast to help them develop the ‘folio technique.’ This approach examines the original text, spelling and punctuation for cues that help actors better represent Shakespeare’s intended delivery and meaning.

The title of the play, Twelfth Night, is a reference to the ‘Twelfth Day of Christmas’ celebrated in the famous carol.  Although the characters in Shakespeare’s play do not celebrate Christmas or the Eve of the Feast of Epiphany (the twelfth night), the play was originally written to be performed as part of these holiday festivities. Since the holiday tradition included a topsy-turvy allowance for role swapping and cross-dressing, it’s not surprising that the characters of Twelfth Night avail themselves of these stratagems.

Ivy Haralson as Viola/CessarioIn the play, a young woman, Viola, (played with insight and charm by Ivy Haralson) dresses up as a man to protec her maiden identity, and the servant Malvolio (hilariously rendered by Jackson McLaskey) imagines that he can woo his mistress and become a nobleman. Zaniness ensues, with inappropriate romantic overtures and the use of double entendre in the best Shakespearean manner.  Only when the truth is revealed and the proper order is restored can the story resolve in three happy weddings.

This Bonstelle cast seemed to understand the essence of Shakespeare’s comedies, which is to say, they enjoyed the lovely language and embraced the silly, ribald humor – and the audience followed suit.

The cast includes: 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 includesAlison 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).

Twelfth Night runs at the Bonstelle Theatre through December 11, 2011 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m.  The Wayne State Theatre box office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 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, visit the theatre’s website.



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