Quote of the Day: If music be the food of love, play on. Duke Orsino, opening lines to William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
The use of music in The Guthrie Theater’s production of Twelfth Night is divine. The tremendously talented 100% Twin Cities cast tell the story through their impeccable Shakespearean speaking skills, their total body involvement, facial expressions, and musicianship. Wow. Really, wow! Sartje Pickett did the sound design for this production, and she deserves all the accolades. The music she composed set the mood and brought to life the characters and action. And, with this multi-talented cast, all the actors seamlessly moved from character to musician, even getting the audience involved a couple times.
The set, designed by Naomi Dawson, is like a giant seaside playground. The platforms are like jungle gyms, complete with swings, and places to hide. The setting is an island, so the docks and piers are there, along with water, like a moat surrounding their play castle, where the actors can jump and splash like kids on a warm spring day. The Guthrie Theater’s production of Twelfth Night is delightful from props to set, costumes to music. And, they showcase some of our own Twin Cities finest talents who have most likely worked together on other stages and different productions, and appeared to be having the time of their lives creating a play together.
Sarah Jane Agnew is the whimsical Maria. Her costumes (design by Ann Closs-Farley) make her seem both 1940’s chic and throw together, fun-loving flair. Maria makes mischief in this story of gender blending, mistaken identity, love and loss, and finding one another.
Nate Cheeseman plays the lovesick Orsino with those pining words in today’s quote. He wants to be overstuffed with love songs until he doesn’t desire it anymore. He is in love with Olivia (Sun Mee Chomet) who is in love with the person she thinks is the young man Cesario who is really Viola (Emily Gunyou Halaas) disguised as her twin brother Sebastian (Michael Hanna), whom she thinks is lost at sea. However, Viola is secretly in love with Orsino, but she’s supposed to help him seduce Olivia. This goes way beyond a love triangle! And, don’t worry about keeping it straight. They provide a chart in the program guide, and also, the actors do a great job of expressing every scene.
Sebastian is not lost at sea. He’s rescued by Antonio (Tyson Forbes) and eventually works his way to Illyria, where the action takes place. Tyson also shines as one of the musicians, and seems to pop up at various locations on the set, strumming the guitar or lending vocals. Joy Dolo is a treat to see as Sir Andrew. She gives her character so much life and energy! Her costumes are also bright and filled with pattern and texture.
Jim Lichtscheidl lets loose with all his comedic flair, and versatility as a performer. He, too, plays drums or other instruments, sings, dresses in a crazy Leprechaun style outfit, with yellow socks and double garters, and plays to the audience! Luverne Seifert is the most adorable fool you’ll ever see as Feste. Something about Shakespeare’s fools make you think they’re not so dim witted. They know when to distract, to bring out the truth, and drive home a point, all the while giving us antics to watch and moments to ponder. When Feste starts off the show, he makes it feel so playful, letting lose balloons, dropping things, catching others in his pocket, and giving nods and winks as he enters and exits.
Sally Wingert is absolutely tops as Sir Toby! She shines in this role. She’s funny and physical. Her facial expressions give all the clues to what’s happening. Her costumes are wonderful, her comedic timing impeccable. I can’t even imagine anyone else playing his role. Brava!
The entire cast shines in this production. They all have a chance to do comedy, deliver some of Shakespeare’s best lines, perform music, and engage with the audience. The only thing I didn’t like was that I missed some of the words in the songs. I don’t know if it was diction, or that they got swallowed up in the cavernous Wurtele Thrust Theater, or simply that they were new to me. Also, I wished they had more music, or the songs were longer!
Don’t miss this playful, delightful production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, directed by Tom Quaintance, at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN through March 22, 2020!
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: Do you ever long to be a carefree kid again, where you can run outside, arms open wide, soaking in the sun, jumping in puddles, and not thinking about anything but living in the moment? What would you do with a perfectly wonderful, carefree day?