In a play filled with deception, confusion, and disguise, Phoenixville Area High School presented Shakespeare's Twelfth Night with both clarity and hilarity.
The classic Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night, published in 1623, tells the tale of Viola (played by Sonia Tavani) as she parades as a man under the name of Cesario. After entering the service of Orsino, the Duke of Illyria (Brendan Farrell), "Cesario" is given the task of wooing the countess Olivia (Rebecca Wise) for Orsino. The plot takes a turn, however, when Olivia falls in love with Cesario and then proceeds to marry him, only to end up married to Viola's long lost twin brother, Sebastian (Scott Carr). Other characters such as Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Dylan Unruh), one of Olivia's suitors, and Malvolio (Marcus Tavani), a servant of Olivia's who believes she is in love with him, get mixed in this tangled web of romance as well.
Phoenixville Area High School presented a humorous, lighthearted production. From the interactive human scenery (such as the tree, played by Rachel Dewey), to the clever modern references, the play was enjoyable and entertaining. The cast, as a whole, appeared to comprehend and interpret Shakespeare's writing very well. The crew supported this with effective lighting and props.
Brendan Farrell and Sonia Tavani played the lead roles of Orsino and Viola very well, as did Rebecca Wise (Olivia). Their lines were always clear and were never jumbled, a feat difficult in Shakespearean plays.
Mike Zolovich as the clown Feste was charming. Always clear, enthusiastic, and very humorous, Zolovich was a perfect fit for the role. Alex Babinchak was also very convincing as Maria, Olivia's lady-in-waiting. Her expressions and demeanor fit Maria's cunning personality wonderfully. Owen Howson as Sir Toby Belch also put on a great performance. Despite his character's drunken state throughout most of the play, Howson was clear and concise, demonstrating a true understanding of Shakespeare's words.
Twelfth Night's ensemble was effective in supporting the leads as well as creating the proper atmosphere. The numerous servants stayed in character the whole time, as well as original characters created by Phoenixville Area High School such as Maladia (Julie Weicheld), the female counterpart to Malvolio. Some actors, however, were hesitant and distant with their lines, as if they did not fully comprehend Shakespeare's writing. As a whole, however, the actors cooperated to create an excellent interpretation of Twelfth Night.
The stage crew contributed greatly to the play as well. Although some of the effects were distracting, there were minimal errors with sound, and the lighting effects were executed wonderfully, especially during the shipwreck scene. The vibrant light effects were impressive and served their purpose. The props were also efficient and contributed to the play.
Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare's best loved plays. Considering Phoenixville Area High School's rendition of the play, it is easy to see why. Although some actors played their roles less convincing than others, the entire cast and crew collaborated to deliver a truly excellent rendition of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, a difficult task.