‘Twelfth Night’ brings lively energy to campus

Shakespeare once again returns to the Hill with the St. Olaf Theater Department’s lively production of “Twelfth Night.” Directed by Assistant Professor of Theater Elaigwu Ameh, the performance is set in 1920s Alexandria, Egypt. In classic Shakespearean fashion, “Twelfth Night” includes mistaken identity, romantic tensions, and rivalry.

The St. Olaf Theater’s production double cast four roles, switching between the set of actors for each show. This decision proved to be beneficial when parts of the cast were unable to attend rehearsals due to COVID-19 infections. Maeve Carroll ’24 plays the jester Feste alongside Maycee Klein ’23. “I like to be double cast because that kind of friendship with the person you are casted with is really unique and fun,” Caroll 

said.

Lucia Iurino ’25 and Kate Linggi ’25 double for the role of Viola and have also created a strong bond. “Kate and I have really become friends in this production, and we ask each other silly Viola questions or just run lines together,” Iurino said. “She is absolutely my rock and it is so fun to see the different interpretations and the different ways each cast does each scene. It’s a really valuable experience.”

The show itself brought a lively energy to the end of a week. The incorporation of music — both pre-recorded tracks and live performances — were well-placed within the show. Feste’s songs also strengthened the musical aspect of the show, and added comedic value.

McIntyre ’23 lit up the stage with his hilarious performance as Sir Toby Belch. My favorite parts of the show were when McIntyre interacted with Jake Hopewell ’23, Aidan Warrington ’25, and Caroline Peacore ’24’s respective characters. Even when Malvolio, depicted by George Wood ’22, delivered an extensive, animated monologue, McIntyre, Hopewell, and Warrington continued to engross the audience with their stage presence.

Often people are hesitant to attend Shakespeare performances because they were written in a different, older, dialect of English. “I think any play you go to there is a suspension of disbelief about the world that you are seeing,” Carroll said. “I think that for Shakespeare that is also the case, you are just accepting that they talk in maybe not necessarily the same version of English that you speak in. And for me, everytime I see Shakespeare or read it, it’s like, you sort of just forget … that they are talking differently because it sounds normal eventually and your ear kind of adapts.”

Iurino echoed similar remarks. “Even if you don’t understand the intricacies of every word … it’s always nice to go see live theater.” she said.

As my dad always says, Shakespeare is better understood when performed than when read. “Twelfth Night” is perhaps the best introduction to Shakespeare. The plot is not too complicated. There is love, comedy, misunderstandings, and sword fighting.

“Twelfth Night’s” final performances will be on April 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. and on April 16 at 2 p.m. in the Kelsey Theater. Tickets are free to students and can be reserved online.

franci3@stolaf.edu

 

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