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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Play Review: ‘Twelfth Night’

    Like in many of Shakespeare’s comedies, cases of mistaken identity, gender crossing and love are the main wellsprings of humor in “”Twelfth Night.””

    The Arizona Theatre Company’s production of the play is slightly different from Shakespeare’s original version, though. The whole play is set in the 1950s on a Mediterranean beach.

    Noah Todd, who graduated UA in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in acting and directing, plays the part of Curio in the play.

    “”There’s a consistent theme of ocean sounds, and the stage looks like a shipwreck,”” said Todd. “”The styles, the wardrobe itself, it echoes the 1950s. The hairstyles for the women – I would even say that the music too – supports the 1950s.””

    To prepare for the role of Curio, Todd said he watched movies set in the 1950s or made during that time.

    “”There’s a scene in the production that is reminiscent of the waltz,”” Todd said. “”It has a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers feel, so I started watching some Fred Astaire movies. I also watched some John Cassavetes movies, the great 1950s director, and James Dean movies, too.””

    In addition, Todd praised the acting and directing education he got at the UA.

    “”The training that I received at the UA really prepared me for taking my career path the way that it’s been. They demanded the best out of every student. It prepared me for life in the real world. We started our days as early as 8 a.m. and worked all afternoon until about 4. And then you rehearse again from 6 until 10. Working under that regiment, under that program … in the real world, things are done the same way,”” Todd said.

    Fellow actress Lisa De Mont said she enjoyed playing the part of Olivia, who is reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe or other pin-up girls of the 1950s.

    “”She’s an aristocrat”” De Mont said. “”In lots of Shakespeare’s play there’s social structure. It’s always fun to walk around with all the power. My character is like a starlet of sorts.””

    Every actor in the ensemble has his or her own comedic moment, De Mont said. She also liked teaming up with other gifted comedic actors in trying to make the play as funny as it could be.

    “”It’s fun when you’re building something with someone and say, ‘We could make this funnier,'”” she said. “”It’s shared between all of you. I get to share it with everyone in the production. With comedy you have an intuition about what’s funny. And then, you learn a lot from the audience. They can see the big picture that an actor can’t see.””

    With the ensemble cast, the audience gets to know nuances and insecurities of the characters, which leads to a higher level of comedy.

    “”The best comedy isn’t that bullshit slapstick stuff,”” she said. “”It comes when you’ve invested in the character and you’ve found something true and endearing about them. The best comedy is when you care about a character.””

    “”Twelfth Night”” is playing at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave., until Sept. 30. Call 622-2823 for more information.

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