Advanced Drama takes on Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’

Caleigh Stephens

Advanced Drama performed Shakespeare’s classic comedy “Twelfth Night” from Mar. 23 to Mar. 26 in Room 306.

The play centers around a shipwrecked girl named Viola who disguises herself as a man named Cesario in order to work for the duke of the land, with whom she later falls in love. The Duke Orsino is in love with Countess Olivia, who falls in love with Viola, thinking she is a man. Meanwhile, a number of other characters provide comic relief with their constant shenanigans.

“It’s a whole lot of misunderstanding, unrequited love, and comedy,” said junior Kate Kiehfuss, who plays Viola/Cesario and the Sea Captain. “It’s just a mix of slapstick and witty humor, and it’s even kind of crude sometimes.”

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Junior Scott Smith plays the role of Duke Orsino

The play was directed by Eric Berkowitz, and assistant directed by Patrick Jones. It had been in the works for a little under three months, according to junior Cameron Sylla, who plays the role of Viola and the Sea Captain in the cast opposite Kiehfuss.

The dated language in the play posed some challenges to the cast, according to Kiehfuss.

“We had to look up the words we were saying, what they meant, what they meant in the context of the play,” Kiehfuss said. “We just spent a lot of time going over our lines and there’s a difference between learning your lines and memorizing them and learning what they really mean for the play and for your character.”

Sylla expressed a similar sentiment about the language, emphasizing the extra time it took to learn the lines.

“Because there are some extra words, it takes some time to truly understand what your lines mean, or what the play means as compared to a normal text play,” Sylla said.

However, Sylla described performing a Shakespearean play as a unique experience.

“I don’t know why people hate Shakespeare or don’t even give it a chance,” Sylla said. “It’s so deep, it’s so meaningful and getting to act it out and bring it to life with other people is such an amazing and truly educational experience.”

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Junior Kate Kiehfuss acts as Cesario, or Viola disguised as a man

The show is a departure from some spring semester junior shows in past years, according to Kiehfuss.

“Sometimes the junior show in EPiC drama is kind of seen as something that comes together at the last second or it is kind of messy because people aren’t sure what they are doing here,” Kiehfuss said. “But I think this was a pretty small cast and I think everyone in here really wanted to be here and was really good in the role that they were cast in.”

The performance took place in Room 306, the black box theatre that sometimes hosts performances that are not in the Little Theater.

“Performing in 306 is a bit different [than performing in the Little Theatre] because you are so much closer to the audience,” Sylla said. “Usually the audience is below you and you are blinded by lights so you can’t even see them, but in 306 there are people right in front of you. It’s a much more intimate experience.”

Kiehfuss said the rehearsal process was really positive and the entire cast was driven and focused towards the final product.

“We had a lot of fun in rehearsal; this is such a funny play to dive into, because there is so much under the radar humor that we would be going through it and we would discover something funny and would bust up laughing,” Kiehfuss said. “It’s super fun to have a cast that wants to be here and is willing to work hard to make this a funny and meaningful show.”