Saturday, April 23, 2016

Twelfth Night (As Told By Malvolio)

Costume design by Zachary Hikle
Yes, we are almost one-third through the new year. And hasn’t it been remarkable? At the end of Twenty-Fifteen I blithely remarked, “Surprises are welcome.” Really, they’re not. No more surprises, please.

At the same time, I made note of dreams I had had about new works. In one I was receiving a staged reading of a play I had not yet written that went extremely well. This was several months before I received an invitation to go to Last Frontier. So that was not even a surprise, then, it was foretold.

Today is William Shakespeare’s birthday. He would be 452 today, which is far too old to be, so it is just as well he also died on this date 400 years ago, in 1616.

Costume design by Zachary Hickle
When Shakespeare's First Folio comes to the Cleveland Public Library, we will be ready. Great Lakes Theater will be presenting Twelfth Night (as told by Malvolio) the first two weekends of July, in the newly renovated Brett Hall, just off the main entrance.

In this 45-minute retelling, we are creating a 1980s teen comedy love triangle between Viola, Orsino and Olivia, set in the (fictional) Elyria High School.

The text is entirely Shakespeare, and will also include passages from other of his works, like As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew and even and Hamlet, as well as some verses from the Sonnets. And it's free.

We’re having great fun with the adaptation, it’s fun to treat the 80’s as some bizarre, bygone era, which of course it is. My entire cast was born around 1990 ... so just as you might find in an 80’s teen sex comedy, all the teenagers are played by people in their mid-20s.

Twelfth Night (As Told By Malvolio) opens at Cleveland Public Library Thursday, July 7.

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