Rubicon Theatre Stages Shakespeare’s Gender-Bending Romantic Comedy as Part of the Fearless Shakespeare Intensive.
Rubicon Theatre Company presents the gender-bending romantic comedy Twelfth Night, or What You Will, performed by the students of the Education Department’s Fearless Shakespeare Intensive, adapted and directed by Rubicon’s first company member and critically acclaimed actor Joseph Fuqua. This hilarious tale of role reversal, unrequited love, and mistaken identity receives a darkly romantic, goth-inspired reimagining by Fuqua and Dramaturg Dr. Jonathan Drahos. Twelfth Night or What You Will plays for only four performances when it opens on July 29.
Twelfth Night takes place in the fantastical land of Illyria. Twin siblings Viola and Sebastian are shipwrecked off the coast, each believing the other is dead. Nothing is what it seems in this strange place as Viola disguises herself as a man in order to be in Duke Orsino’s charge. The Duke is deeply infatuated with Olivia, a noblewoman in mourning. Posing as a man named Cesario, Viola on the Duke’s command woos Olivia on his behalf, only to have Olivia fall in love with the man Viola portrays. To make matters more difficult, Viola finds herself falling in love with the Duke. Adding to the confusion is Feste the Clown, the drunken Sir Toby Belch, the foolish Aquecheek, the arrogant Malvolio, and Sebastian, Viola’s presumed drowned brother. In the end, a madcap but bittersweet chain of events lead to startling revelations, confessions of the heart and authentic self-actualization.
Fearless Shakespeare is a three-week intensive that allows students ages 16-23 to work with industry experts as they immerse themselves in script analysis, scansion, verse work and character development. Students form a tight company of actors to bring one of the Bard's greatest masterpieces to the Rubicon stage for a weekend of public performances on July 29, 30 and 31, 2016. Part of the summer Education youth programs, this year marks the 15th anniversary of the Education program under the direction of Brian McDonald with Fearless Shakespeare in its eighth year.
“Twelfth Night is about love, but it also plays with the idea of change and transformation,” says director Fuqua. “The story is driven by the characters and the relationships they create, to their benefit and misfortune. It’s very funny, but there are also darker underpinnings we are exploring such as death and rebirth—the constant tension between these and how it shapes a person’s identity.”
The Fearless Shakespeare Intensive draws students from all over Ventura County. This year's production of Twelfth Night features students Riley Conrad (Ventura), Sophia Ehrlich (Ojai), Kirsten Hoj (Ojai), Spencer Jay (Ventura), Caleb Kniep (Ventura), Macaria Martinez (Oxnard), Viviana McIntosh (Ventura), Nick Rada (Ventura) Louis Santia (Ventura) Kate Smith (Thousand Oaks) Cole Sodergren (Ventura) Seth Stevenson (Ventura) Ashlyn Weatherford (Ventura), Matty Dax Wilson (Oxnard) and Xander Young (Ventura).
Dramaturg Drahos adds, “What is great about working with these actors in Fearless Shakespeare is that they keep coming back year after year. They build on the experience and training they receive here, supplementing with their high school or college education. It’s a rare opportunity to watch these actors grow as performers. Some have been in the program for five years.”
As for the show itself, Fuqua says for audiences to expect the unexpected. “It’s darker than other versions. I like to see what we can do that’s different while staying true to the text and the language. This will have a sort of “The Lost Boys” feel to it (1987 horror comedy vampire film). Audiences can look forward to an edgier Twelfth Night.”
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE AND TICKETS
Rubicon Theatre Company’s Fearless Shakespeare presentation of Twelfth Night or What You Will runs Friday, July 29 at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, July 30 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., and Sunday, July 31 at 2:00 p.m. at the company’s home at 1006 East Main Street, Ventura, CA 93001. Advance tickets sales are $15 for kids ages 2 to 12 and $20 for those 13 or older. (Tickets are $5 more at the door.) To purchase by phone, call the Rubicon Box Office 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. 7 days a week at (805) 667-2900.
Advance tickets sales:
$15 for kids ages 2 to 12
$20 for those 13 or older.
Tickets are $5 more at the door.