Kane Repertory Theatre presents the romantic comedy Twelfth Night at the Historic Pavilion along the Fox River 8th North Avenue in St. Charles, Illinois’s Pottowattomie Park. This outdoor production is directed by Katie Lupica, a Northwestern University Master of Fine Arts candidate. It premiers on Thursday, July 28th, and runs from Friday, July 29th, and Saturday, July 30th. The dates in August are Thursday, August 6th, Friday, August 11th, and Saturday, August 12th at 7:00 p.m. There are also two matinee shows on Sundays, July 31st and August 7th at 2:00 p.m.
William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was first performed in 1602 and published in 1623 almost four hundred years ago. It remains immensely popular today. Probably due to its timeless topics it is still relevant to modern times. There is unrequited love, comedic romantic entanglements, the flaunting of societal and religious conventions, along with misidentified assumptions and mistaken genders. Shakespeare sets the opening scene in Ilyria where the love-sick nobleman Duke Orsino is portrayed by the talented enthusiastic Joel Ottenheimer. The Duke mopes about pining for the love of Lady Olivia who is deftly played by the multi-talented director, actor, and teacher, Shannon Coltrane. Olivia is still in mourning over the death of her father and more recently her brother. She rejects the Duke’s romantic intentions. The Duke is undeterred. He is convinced he can win her hand in marriage even though she has sworn off all men.
Enter shipwrecked noblewoman Viola skillfully portrayed by Makenzie Wetherford, a recent MFA graduate of Northern Illinois University. Viola finds herself washed up from a shipwreck to IIlyria’s shores. She believes her twin brother Sebastian, depicted by the suave Justin Cahill, has died at sea in that same shipwreck. She must now fend for herself. Makenzie easily transitions into a boy, Cesario, to gain employment in the court of Duke Orsino. He admires Cesario and sends him as a messenger to convince Lady Olivia to marry him. Lady Olivia has quite the comic cast surrounding her court. There is a continually drunk uncle Sir Toby Belch (Peter Buckley) aptly stumbling across the stage with his carousing pal, Sir Andrew/ Curio who is also in love with Lady Olivia. Daniil Krimer, Artistic Director for KRT, plays a comic credible buffoon. Sir Andrew uses the blow-up beach props in clever unique ways. His energetic physicality adds to the role.
The whole ensemble is incredibly talented and professional, but there were stand-out performances. Brian Koester as Malvolio, the head steward. played the perfect Puritan prude to Belch and Andrew’s antics. Sophia Arnold as Maria, the maid in waiting, shines while her presence commands the stage. She plans the revenge plot along with Sirs Belch and Andrew against Malvolio leading him to a forged false letter that Lady Olivia is in love with him. Dane Brandon as Feste the fool is hysterical and a delight as he sashays across the stage with his bubble machine. He has the most beautiful voice and is a skilled dancer. All the missteps and misidentifications are resolved in the end. You will enjoy the performances and creative imaginative staging and that true love finally reigns.
Kane Repertory Theatre (KRT) has reimagined this Shakespeare comedy as a fun day at the beach with the apropos seashore attire. The props are beach chairs, a cooler, a blow-up chaise lounge, a kiddie pool, and other fun accouterments that serve creative purposes. The music is familiar, popular, modern songs. 0n opening night the weather could not have been more perfect. The full capacity for the outdoor seating is ninety guests. I suggest you get your tickets early and it would be a good idea to bring along a cushion for the metal folding chairs. The production is two and a half hours long with a fifteen-minute intermission. There are libations available through Pollyanna Brewing Company. Pottawatomie Park is beautiful and exquisitely landscaped. Parking is about a block walk away. There are indoor restroom facilities available kitty-corner from the pavilion.
Kane Repertory Theatre stated mission:” is a home for professional, intellectually, stimulating theatre. By using visceral performance, we seek to bring our community closer together through evoking empathy and sparking conversation.” Their vision is “to be one of the Midwest’s leading regional theaters by forming an ensemble of dynamic artists, providing patrons of all ages with first-class theatre education and engaging new audiences through various outreach efforts.”
Tickets: $30 Adults, $25 Seniors, and $15 Students. This play is recommended for all ages.
Photos: Courtesy of Kane Repertory Theatre
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