By William Shakespeare
Directed by Jon Kretzu
Performed at the Center Theatre at Seattle Center
October 21, 2014–November 16, 2014
Love lost. Love found. Love turned upside down. Shakespeare’s sparkling comedy turns desire on its ear when shipwrecked twins Viola and Sebastian roam Illyria stirring up attraction and distraction wherever they go. Orsino loves Olivia, but she pays him no mind. Olivia loves Viola, whom she’s mistaken for a boy. Viola loves Orsino, and he has no idea she’s a girl. Toby Belch, Andrew, Feste and Maria love playing pranks on Malvolio who is in love with love (and himself). Strange romance gives way to a miracle in this rollicking comedy of misplaced longing.
Design Team: Andrea Bryn Bush (Set Designer), Christine Meyers (Costume Designer), Kent Cubbage (Lighting Designer), Harry Jamieson (Sound Designer), Marleigh Driscoll (Props Designer), Peter Dylan O'Connor (Fight Choreographer), Wade Madsen (Movement Choreographer), Susannah Butler (Stage Manager).
Cast (in alphabetical order): Julie Briskman (Maria), J. Samuel Cowan (Ensemble), Mike Dooly (Sir Toby Belch), Spencer Hamp (Ensemble), Drew Highlands (Ensemble), Elinor Gunn (Olivia), Christopher Morson (Sebastian), George Mount (Andrew Aguecheek), Jay Myers (Orsino), Conner Neddersen (Feste), Allie Pratt (Viola), David Quicksall (Malvolio), Joey Shaw (Antonio).
Duke Orsino loves the Countess Olivia, but she is quite uninterested in him. Viola and her twin brother, Sebastian, have been separated in a shipwreck on the coast of Illyria. Certain that he has died, she dresses as a boy, and assuming the name Cesario, enters the service of Duke Orsino. The Duke is impressed by the “young man” and sends him to woo Olivia for him. Olivia dismisses the duke’s suit and falls madly in love with “him” herself. Meanwhile, Viola realizes that she is in love with the duke.
The Countess Olivia employs a steward called Malvolio, who is a highly principled puritan. Her drunken uncle, Sir Toby Belch, and his friend Sir Andrew Aguecheek seize every opportunity to make fun of him. They are assisted by Feste, Olivia’s clown, and Maria, her maid.
Maria tricks Malvolio into believing that Olivia is in love with him. Olivia, thinking that he has gone quite mad, has him locked up.
Sir Toby, who has been encouraging Sir Andrew to woo his niece, persuades the knight to challenge Cesario to a duel. Both are scared, and neither can bring himself to fight.
Viola’s brother, Sebastian, has survived the shipwreck and arrived at Orsino’s court with his friend Antonio. Sir Andrew and Sir Toby, thinking he is Cesario, provoke him to a duel. They are amazed when they are soundly beaten. Olivia also mistakes Sebastian for Cesario and at last finds her advances warmly welcomed. Antonio is arrested by the duke on old charges of piracy and is forced to ransom himself.
Olivia announces that she and Cesario are married. Orsino threatens to kill the boy for supplanting him in her affections. Finally Sebastian arrives, and it becomes clear that it is he who is married to Olivia. Cesario reveals himself to be Viola, and Orsino, who was attracted to her when she was a boy, now offers to marry her. Antonio is pardoned and Malvolio vows revenge on them all.
Adapted from Shakespeare Genealogies by Vanessa James
Click on image to enlarge. Photos by John Ulman