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USC Sumter presents contemporary Shakespeare comedy

BY IVY MOORE
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 4/16/19

Cross dressing, mistaken identities, gender bending, love triangles and more - all are elements of William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night, or What You Will," to be presented Friday and Saturday at the University of South Carolina Sumter. The play will …

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USC Sumter presents contemporary Shakespeare comedy

Posted

Cross dressing, mistaken identities, gender bending, love triangles and more - all are elements of William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night, or What You Will," to be presented Friday and Saturday at the University of South Carolina Sumter. The play will be performed twice Friday and again on Saturday by Dr. Park Bucker's Shakespeare in Performance class' Theatre 181.

Bucker, who directs the play, has set "Twelfth Night" in contemporary times, but with a thrust stage like that of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre; that is, the stage extends into the audience, who sit on three sides. Shakespeare's language is also intact. The actors are dressed in raincoats and slickers.

"It's a 'carnival' or 'festival' play," Bucker said. "The conceit is a bunch of commuters stuck in the rain until the jester shows up. It pops then."

Twelfth Night - the 12th and final day of Christmas - "is a break from routine," Bucker explained. "Rules are relaxed, and the world is turned upside down. Things do get out of hand."

As the play opens, Duke Orsino is depressed because Olivia, whom he loves, is having nothing to do with men for seven years, as she mourns the death of her brother. The young Viola falls in love with Orsino, who is tricked into thinking Olivia loves him. With disguises and dissembling and with additional characters finding love - though the matches might be inappropriate and are prone to change - the plot becomes more and more convoluted.

Bucker noted that "Shakespeare was not a realistic playwright. You can do Shakespeare in your backyard. In Shakespeare, anybody can play any part. Everybody has a good part."

While "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is better known, Bucker said "Twelfth Night" has always been one of his favorite Shakespeare comedies. "It has the best characters."

The cast of "Twelfth Night" comprises Andrew Lawrence as the Duke Orsino; Philip Parker as Olivia; Colton Rivers as Malvolio and Valentine; Destiny Edwards as Maria; Jazmyne Jacobs as Sir Toby Belch; Faith Litchfield as Feste; Emily Courson as Viola; Taylor Parker as Sebastian; Ethan Hall as Antonio; and Bucker as Sir Andrew and the Sea Captain.

"Twelfth Night" will be presented at 2 and 7 p.m. Friday and at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Arts and Lecture Hall at the University of South Carolina Sumter. Admission is free, and the public is invited to attend.