Mike Bennett (in the role of Sir Toby Belch) and Rowan Williamson (playing Maria), rehearse a scene from "Twelfth Night" in Wells Theater on the evening before opening night.
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When watching a Shakespearen play, most theatre patrons expect to see elaborate wigs and wardrobes, not clocks and gears. But for its upcoming staging of “Twelfth Night (or What You Will),” the Monmouth College theatre department will provide a retro-futuristic spin on the Shakespeare classic by presenting a “steampunk” version.
Directed and adapted by assistant professor of theatre Emily Rollie, “Twelfth Night” will be presented April 24 – 27 at the college’s Wells Theater. Performances the first three days will be at 7:30 p.m., and there will be a 2 p.m. on April 27. Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for students/seniors, and $4 for MC students and faculty, and can be purchased online at http://www.worldforms.net/TOL/wellstheater
Steampunk is described as a mix between classic Victorian and futuristic elements with a very rustic feel, with clocks, gears and futuristic gadgets all having steam-power components.
“Steampunk offers a whole new element to this play and accompanies our story extremely well,” said Rollie, who calls “Twelfth Night” her favorite Shakespeare comedy. “But it isn’t all just fun. There are darker elements to the script as well. Steampunk is fun, funky and imaginative, but there is also a darker, more worn side of it.”
"Twelfth Night" tells the classic tale of Viola who, after having been shipwrecked and separated from her twin brother, decides to disguise herself as a man and calls herself Cesario. Viola then becomes a servant for the Duke Orsino of Illyria, who is love-struck over the neighboring countess, Olivia. A love triangle soon forms as Viola (Cesario) falls in love with Orsino, while Olivia falls in love with Cesario. To make matters worse, Viola’s lost twin, Sebastian, arrives on the scene. In the midst of the love triangle, Olivia’s uncle, Sir Toby, and friends cause a little havoc of their own.
“I am so very excited to embark with this group of students,” said Rollie. “They are a very diverse and hard-working group with old and new students, majors and minors, or students who just love to be involved in the theatre. Each actor or actress gives a completely new and unique perspective to the show.”
After the evening performances, the audience is invited to stay for talk-back sessions, where they can ask the designers, cast, scholars and the director any question they may have about the show. After Saturday’s performance, Rollie and associate professor of English Marlo Belschner, a Shakespeare scholar, will provide their input about the play.