Bringing Shakespeare to life with laughter

As I sat in the Cassella Theater waiting for the show to begin I was trying to prepare myself for yet another Shakespeare play. But the only thing I had to prepare for was two hours of well-performed comedy filling the theater with the roars of laughter.In my past experiences I always dreaded Shakespeare, mainly because I never knew what was going on in the script. Having the script being performed in front of you by talented actors made it so much more enjoyable and entertaining.

You may know that Twelfth Night is about a love triangle with mistaken identity involving wacky characters in the land of Illyria. The play takes place in the time of Shakespeare, but the Stage Left crew gave it a 1920’s spin.

The characters and set pieces are mostly taken from the era of the roaring twenties, making it a not so average Shakespeare play.

The mix of the original dialog and 1920’s style costume and set design is reminiscent to the modern adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Instead of doing another modern adaptation, Stage Left went to the 20’s.

What was most interesting about this adaptation was the use of song between the scenes. The three singers who sang quite well in the key of the 20’s were sometimes characters in the scene or just background music for the saga from one scene to another. Song was also used in the play by the main characters as well.

An example is in the scene with Sir Toby Belch, Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Feste where they are a bit drunk and attempt to play the piano and sing, but only end up in making a loud rowdy noise.

When it comes to the acting, all of the Stage Left actors did a fantastic job. My personal favorite would have to go to Jesse Durona (Sir Toby Belch) and Ken Holmes (Sir Andrew Aguecheek).

These two were able to play out a friendship that was very believable and very entertaining. They brought the comedy to every scene they were in and every scene they were not in I looked forward for them to return.

The performance of Ken Holmes was exceptional with his outlandish accent and animated gestures. No matter what he said, even if it was just a couple of words, laughter always came out of the audience.

If you thought Stage Left put on another Shakespeare play then you would be wrong. Yes, it was a play written by Shakespeare, but it definitely was not your average boring reading out of the script (or cliff notes) for English class.

The actors and singers gave the play a new life with an energized spirit.

Even if you don’t understand a word of Shakespearian dialect and you don’t know what’s going on, that’s OK. The actions, reactions and facial expression given by the actors was a joy to watch and hilarious when appropriate.

Having the singers in between the scenes was a very nice touch that added another element to a play, which already has so many.

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