Back to Stage

Twelfth Night

Shakespeare’s comedy of gender roles and mistaken identity comes to the Dukesbay Theater

A stacked cast rounds out a minimalist production of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Photo credit: Pavlina Morris

Recommend Article
Total Recommendations (0)
Clip Article Email Article Print Article Share Article

We're awfully lucky, in the South Sound, to be exposed to as much great theater as we are. In addition to the more painstakingly elaborate productions put up at places like Lakewood Playhouse, Tacoma Little Theatre, Tacoma Musical Playhouse, and Olympia Little Theatre, among others, we're also granted the opportunity to see smaller, scrappier shows. Many of these more modest productions can be seen at the Dukesbay Theater, a tiny black box venue above the Grand Cinema in the Merlino Arts Center, that hosts performances from independent theater companies. The Changing Scene Theatre Northwest, a company that got its start in Denver more than 30 years ago, will be taking the Dukesbay stage for the next two weeks with a production of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

"The Changing Scene has a history of producing Shakespeare, but we haven't since we've been in Tacoma," said Changing Scene Artistic Director Pavlina Morris. "So, that's sort of been our goal, to get a Shakespeare production up. And we always like to offer a holiday alternative. Usually our shows are more holiday-themed, obviously, than Twelfth Night, but we thought it was a great opportunity to do it. ... We love the intimacy of Dukesbay, and we love the fact that they're housing all of these different indie companies, so we feel very welcome there as this kind of fringe theater. It's been lovely."

Twelfth Night is a Shakespeare comedy that explores the bard's familiar interests, like gender and mistaken identity. Like a lot of Shakespeare's works, this play can seem a little bit daunting to those who worry about following Shakespeare's language and the complexities of the plot, but it's all rather simple: Twins Viola and Sebastian become separated after a shipwreck, Viola disguises herself as a man and finds herself in the middle of a love triangle with Duke Orsino and Countess Olivia. In its bare bones, it's a scenario we've seen play out in countless different forms, and the immersive environment of Dukesbay will have you easily locked into the story.

"This is kind of a minimalistic treatment, I would say," said Morris. "The nomadic nature of our company makes our shows tend toward minimalism with what we do. We focus more on acting and direction, which lends itself well with Shakespeare. This adaptation is my own, and it's not really set in any time or place. What we do is centralize the character of Feste, as the instigator of the mischief that's happening in Shakespeare's narrative."

Feste, the jester, takes more of a prominent role in Morris' adaptation, disguising herself as many of the other characters. Traditionally a male character, Feste will be played by a woman, adding another wrinkle to Twelfth Night's exploration of gender roles. The cast is comprised of Corissa DeVerse, Paul Sobrie, Nastassia Reynolds, Kathryn Stahl, Jill Heinecke, Ben Stahl, Laurice Roberts, Zach Forbes, Nick Fitzgerald, Joseph Magin, and Kayla Littleton, with direction by Morris. A wily comedy like Twelfth Night should be an ideal way to warm you up for the holiday season.

Twelfth Night, 7:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday; 6 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9; 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16, through Dec. 22, Dukesbay Theater, 508 6th Ave. #10, Tacoma, $15-$18 presale, $20 at the door, 360.710.5440, 

Read next close


To awaken and soothe

comments powered by Disqus

Site Search