April 5-7, 7:30 p.m.,
April 6 10:30 p.m., April 7 2:00 p.m.
The Loeb Ex
Directed by Susanna B. Wolk ’13
Produced by Andrew N. Shindi ’13, Janet J. Eom ’14, Joe G. Hodgkin ’12
Avid Shakespeare fans will be celebrating this year’s on-again, off-again winter with a topsy-turvy rendition of the Bard’s classic play “Twelfth Night.” The comedy, originally written for the end of the Christmas season, is getting a remix that plays up the silly fun found in this classic tale of swapped identities. Not only has the Hyperion Shakespeare Company’s production of the work been revamped for a modern-day audience, it also includes a brand new score for Shakespeare’s own lyrics.
According to Olivia L. Ball ’14, who plays Viola, this production is not just another “She’s the Man” spin-off of the gender-bending, couple-swapping tale. “I defy the Amanda Bynes inspiration. I think of Viola as wonderful and daring in so many ways,” she says. In fact, the whole show is an experiment in updating this popular text. “You constantly have to think of new motivations, new ways of looking at things, new ways of making it funny,” says Ball. So instead of spreading across the shipwrecked shores of Illyria, the action will take place at a riotous music festival, featuring live ukulele music written by musical directors Anise Molina ’14 and Kyra A. Atekwana ’14 and inspired by Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson, and Ben Folds.
Despite these additions, the production retains all the satirical humor found in the original. First-time director Susanna B. Wolk ’14 decided to play up the raunchy jokes, cruel tricks, and secret crushes that would have made even Elizabethan theatergoers blush. The actors—most of them Hyperion veterans such as Ball, Josh G. Wilson ’13, Nathan O. Hilgartner ’14, and Amelia H. Ross ’14—have the skills to be silly in Shakespearean verse. However, Wolk feels that that her cast is entering new territory with this staging. “[This is] a crazy place where everything is not quite right, people’s passions and emotions ride high, and nobody holds back,” she says.
In “Twelfth Night” the Loeb Ex becomes a music hall for hippies, a fashion runway for American Apparel androgynes, and a battlefield for paintball fights. This new production is sure to be full of surprises and stimulants, just like the Bard’s wacky imagination.