Southern Utah University’s theatre arts department closed their production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” on Oct. 7. The production played at 8 p.m. the evenings of Sept. 29 and 30 as well as Oct. 2, 6 and 7 in the Engelstad Shakespeare Theater.
“Twelfth Night” follows the story of Viola, a shipwrecked young woman searching for her brother Sebastian. She disguises herself as a man and begins working on the coast of Illyria as a messenger for Duke Orsino, who is attempting to woo Countess Olivia. An unexpected love triangle ensues as Olivia falls for Viola’s male alter ego and Viola pines after Orsino. Several other characters add to the chaos, playing tricks and creating laughs along the way.
“It’s about family, drama and comedy. It’s all the things we enjoy now; it’s just an older text,” said Gabriel Wright, who played Sir Andrew.
SUU’s production included several songs, and the audience was invited to sing along in some cases. This was meant to recreate the experience that audiences may have had during Shakespeare’s time.
“We did a ton of vocal workshops practically before every rehearsal,” said Eliza Rose Greiner, who played Viola. “The challenging part was getting the vocals up to where they should be.”
Although “Twelfth Night” was first performed in 1602, SUU’s production was set during the 1920s to highlight the universal, timeless themes in the play.
“We keep telling these stories because there’s something universal, understandable and human about them,” said Greiner. “Shakespeare poses these things in beautiful, flowery, clever language.”
“Twelfth Night” was the first show of TDAA’s 2023-2024 season. The production dates coincided with the high school Shakespeare competition, and many high school students attended the play over its closing weekend.
“There is something wonderful about sitting out in a globe-style theater and hearing Shakespeare come out of young mouths who are sparkling with passion for the language and passion for the project,” said Greiner. “We [gave] it our all every single time.”
Story by: Gracie Butterfield
Editor: Tessa Cheshire
Photos courtesy of SUU TDAA