Susan Evans, Town Hall Theatre’s artistic director, sent an invitation to our readers this past week, inviting them to watch and enjoy an archival video of the William Shakespeare comic love triangle “Twelfth Night, which they produced in 2011.
The lighthearted story begins with a brother and sister being separated during a shipwreck off the coast of Illyria. Viola makes it to shore with the help of the ship’s captain, but her brother, Sebastian, cannot be located and is assumed lost at sea.
A young and attractive woman alone in an unknown country would probably not fare well, but with the aid of the ship captain, she disguises herself as a young man, assuming the name of Cesario. In this disguise she eventually ends up in a community seeking employment, where upon she meets a local duke, Orsino, and gains employment in his household.
As Orsino comes to know Cesario, he begins to think that this intelligent and conversant young man might help him in his pursuit of a young woman, Olivia, with whom he has fallen in love. Olivia, however, is mourning the recent loss of her father and brother and has sworn to refuse the attention of any men, or to accept any love or marriage proposals, until seven years have passed.
As is typical with the masterful Shakespeare, one plot often emerges into a second or third or fourth. He creates a cacophony of engaging language and characters with an ample supply of laughter and mirth, fortune and misfortune, love and the illusion of love. This story is truly one of Shakespeare’s most delightfully silly and entertaining plays.
Søren A. Oliver directed this production, with an excellent cast that included David Abad, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, perfoPerry Aliado, Alexandra Creighton, Justin DuPuis, Kate Jopson, Dennis Markam, Kendra Oberhauser, Daniel Petzold, Paul Plain and Clive Worsley.
The archival video is offered on a pay-what-you-can-basis through June 14 at townhalltheatre.com/town-hall-video-archives.
Because this video was not originally intended as a TV-style presentation, it will probably give you the experience of someone sitting further back in the theater, watching the production. Nonetheless, it is a memorable, well-done production of a very entertaining, light-hearted play that is offered on a pure donation basis.
If you need more assistance, call the theater box office at 925-283-1557.
Charles Jarrett is a journalist, photographer and voice-over artist. He is a member of the San Francisco Theater Critics Circle. His reviews appear frequently in the Orinda News, Martinez Gazette and Rossmoor News. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.