Shakespeare in the Roaring Twenties…Virtually!

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Photographs courtesy of www.shakespeare.folger.edu

Auditions having recently concluded, the UIS Theatre shall soon premier its production of Twelfth Night or What You Will, a Shakespearean play transplanted from its original setting in the ancient Balkans to the “Roaring Twenties.” Professor Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson, an associate professor of theatre at UIS, spoke about how the play is going so far. When asked what the play was about, Thibodeaux-Thompson stated:

“The story is essentially one of identity, and mistaken identity. A set of fraternal twins (Viola & Sebastian) are shipwrecked, and each thinks the other is dead. In order for Viola to survive in her new, foreign location, she must dress as a young man and serve the local Duke. The Duke sends Viola (dressed as Cesario) to ‘woo’ the Countess Olivia, but Olivia ends up falling for Cesario (who is really Viola). Viola, in turn, begins to fall for the Duke. In the meantime, her twin brother, Sebastian, is revealed to have survived, and  is wandering the same city of Illyria. Of course, those who know Cesario see Sebastian, and assume Sebastian is Cesario. ‘Hijinks’ ensue, but in true Shakespearean style, all works out in the end…well, for almost everyone!”

To ensure the safety of those wanting to participate, auditions were held both in-person and through Zoom. Thibodeaux-Thompson did state that, in order to accommodate those who are not on campus and make sure that this is a safe experience for everyone involved, the play will be a “virtual” production through Zoom or a similar platform. She does hope that the upcoming fall auditions can go back to normal, but “the safety of our actors, company members, as well as audience members, is paramount.”

For those wanting to see the play, opening night is April 16. Updated instructions for audience members to access the livestream will be posted soon at https://www.uis.edu/theatre/productions/. While so many things have had to change due to the pandemic, the UIS Theatre has managed to adapt and continue to present performances for the UIS community. To all of those who are participating: Break a leg!