SEQUIM — Sequim High School students will bring a love of Shakespeare’s language and comic mischief to town this week with “Twelfth Night, or What You Will.”
Director Ashley Kramer said most of the cast features females in gender-bending roles for what historians believe served as the foundation of the romantic comedy genre.
“It’s just so full of mischief and madcap confusion with all the people in disguise,” Kramer said.
“It ends up being this interesting commentary on identity and about freedom to be yourself or not to be yourself.”
The play, which is presented by the high school Operetta Club, runs for five shows at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Dec. 13-14, and 2 p.m. Dec. 14, in the auditorium, 533 N. Sequim Ave.
Tickets are $8 for the general public and $6 for students, paid with cash or check at the door.
“Twelfth Night” focuses on twins Viola (Payton Sturm) and Sebastian (Kyle DeSumma) separated after a shipwreck. Viola disguises herself as Cesario and becomes the aide to Duke Orsino (Kenzie Camp).
Through their time together, Cesario (Viola) falls in love with Duke Orsino while he falls for Olivia (Meg Vander Velde) and Olivia falls for Viola’s fake identity Cesario.
Vander Velde, an SHS senior, said this is the first time she’s acted since eighth grade and that “Twelfth Night” is her mom Melee’s favorite play.
“I want to make her proud,” she said of her performance.
As for the play, Vander Velde said the plot is “weird but interesting” but “all the characters have some depth” including her Olivia.
“She swears she wouldn’t marry but falls for Cesario after she meets him,” she said.
Erin Quintero, an 11th grader from Los Angeles who started school in Sequim this year, plays Feste the Fool, and said she adores Shakespeare and has been reading his works since fifth grade.
This is her first time reading and acting “Twelfth Night,” Quintero said, and her character serves as the comic relief “telling a lot of truths throughout the play.”
Camp plays two roles as Duke Orsino and Sir Toby and said she’s mostly played males as an actor.
“It’s unique and gives me a chance to explore other aspects,” she said.
Camp wasn’t planning to act this school year to focus on the school’s color guard team but learned the fall play would be a play by Shakespeare.
“[He’s] one of my favorites,” she said. “It’s easily the most fun Shakespearean play I’ve read.
“This one has such a unique spin on it that’s still relevant by pretending to be someone you’re not to impress someone else.”
Kramer said one of the reasons she chose a Shakespeare play was because she saw it as a “natural extension of the classroom.”
She first shared Shakespearean insults where students could “combine all of the things together just to get the richness of the language.”
“I wanted students to see the fun behind Shakespeare and the sort of naughtiness and multi-layered it is,” she said.
“It was meant to please a great variety of audience members in his time period. You’d have the groundlings who were there for the comedy. The upper classes who were there for the poetry. All of those things end up kind of combined.”
Students said they’ve worked together on the language, rehearsing lines at home and on stage.
Camp said the language is difficult and cryptic at times, but “when you take time to analyze it, the meaning of words is shown through how we can express them.”
The language can be difficult for students, Kramer said, but the “story reveals itself once the difficulty of the language sort of falls away.”
Kramer composed two songs for Feste the Fool to sing while student Chloe Corbin composed the third with collaboration with Quintero and Kramer.
The cast includes Angel Servin, Brii Hingtgen, Corbin, Quintero, Gloria Barrera Reyna, Jennessa Robinson, Kaylee Dunlap, Camp, DeSumma, Vander Velde, Nicolo Zingaro, Sturm, Sierra Abner, Tatiana Vidals and Carina Weiss. Crew includes Cas A. Morton, Enya Griffin, Wren Fierro-Burdick, Nicholas D’Amico, Lili Lebatteux and Niels Suchy.
For more information, call Sequim High School at 360-582-3600.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].