Edgy and updated, twists on Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' hit the mark - Omaha.com
go logo
article photo
article photo
“Twelfth Night” actors are, from left, Beethovan Oden as Orsino, Sarah Carlson-Brown as Olivia, Brittany Proia as Viola and Joe Lullo as Feste.


SHAKESPEARE ON THE GREEN REVIEW

Edgy and updated, twists on Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' hit the mark
By Bob Fischbach / World-Herald staff writer


It's an out-there concept — one that Shakespeare purists might regard as some kind of heresy.

But director Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek's idea of infusing the bard's “Twelfth Night” with snippets of contemporary tunes worked like gangbusters at Nebraska Shakespeare's 27th opening night Thursday.

Whether it was rowdy and ridiculous Sir Toby Belch (Nick Albrecht) and Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Dan Chevalier) doing the “Brass Monkey,” or Olivia (Sarah Carlson-Brown) pining for her new heartthrob with “Call Me Maybe,” or mischievous servant Maria (Moira Mangiameli) and her co-conspirators breaking into “Gangnam Style” dancing, the crowd of nearly 900 seemed to get a big charge out of it all. (Courtney Stein's choreography is right on.)

Clark-Kaczmarek and music director Joel Johnston carefully chose the tunes to fit the feelings of the characters and plot, and they even inserted some of Shakespeare's words into the lyrics. “Moves Like Jagger” became “Moves Like Feste,” the fool (Joe Lullo). And the show opened with Duke Orsino (Beethovan Oden) crooning “When the Lights Go Down in Illyria,” where the story is set, rather than in the city.

The plot is just silly enough that contemporizing it with smartphones and hip-hop and hair streaked in fluorescent colors mostly feels right on the money.

“Twelfth Night” revolves around shipwrecked twins Viola (Brittany Proia) and Sebastian (Mitch Conti), each believing the other may be dead. Viola decides to disguise herself as a man, Cesario, in order to become Duke Orsino's manservant.

Twelfth Night

What: Nebraska Shakespeare stage comedy

Where: Elmwood Park, just southeast of Weber Fine Arts Building at UNO, 6001 Dodge St.

Admission: Free but a free-will offering will be taken.

When: Thursday through Sunday and July 3, 5 and 7. Activities on the green begin at 6 p.m., show at 8 p.m.

Information: nebraskashakespeare.com or 402-280-2391

The duke is in love with Olivia, but when he sends Cesario to plead his case, Olivia instead falls for Cesario. But Cesario, that is Viola, is actually head over heels for Duke Orsino. It's your basic unrequited love triangle.

Meanwhile, Olivia's coterie — Sir Andrew, Sir Toby, Maria and Fabian (Konrad Case) — is tired of her stuffy household steward, Malvolio (John Hardy). They make a fool of him by forging a love letter from Olivia, which causes him to become a gigantic fool for love (“I'm Sexy and I Know It”).

But then, isn't everybody in this story? Toby pushes drinking buddy Andrew as a suitor to his niece, Olivia. And Olivia, mistaking Sebastian for his sister Viola (that is, Cesario), marries him.

Clark-Kaczmarek infuses the entire evening with inspired bits of funny business. Chevalier, Case and Albrecht are particularly adept at executing it, and Mangiameli is a hoot and a half with her mischievous ways.

Costumer Lindsay Pape has a field day with bright colors and outlandish fashion. This is probably the only “Twelfth Night” you'll ever see in which Viola wears Converse All-Star tennies, Sir Toby wears his hair in cornrows, Sir Andrew combines a kilt with a Poison T-shirt and Feste sports a 6-inch-high mohawk.

Clark-Kaczmarek is also lucky to have some accomplished crooners in his cast. They include, in particular, Oden as the Duke, Carlson-Brown as Olivia and Proia as Viola/Sebastian — all of whom are terrific in principal roles.

Yes, a couple of songs go on a little long or are not as well sung — Elton John tunes are vocal alchemy — but the overall concept is one you'll likely either love or hate.

Thursday's crowd was overwhelmingly into it, and the show looks to be a comedic hit.

Contact the writer: Bob Fischbach

bob.fischbach@owh.com    |   402-444-1269

Bob reviews movies and local theater productions and writes stories about those topics, as well.

Read more stories by Bob


Contact the Omaha World-Herald newsroom


Copyright ©2014 Omaha World-Herald®. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.

Latest Stories

The increasingly popular art of hand-brew coffee
The increasingly popular art of hand-brew coffee

Design your own perfect cup with a few gadgets and a bit of patience.


Here's the deal with that outdoor art near CenturyLink Center
Here's the deal with that outdoor art near CenturyLink Center

Years ago, Alan Potash had a vision for a public art exhibition.


Nebraska's best cupcakes and tacos can be found in Omaha, say cupcake/taco experts
Nebraska's best cupcakes and tacos can be found in Omaha, say cupcake/taco experts

Another day, another mention of Omaha food on a food list. Two food lists, in fact.


Small-town Nebraska native becomes big-time comic book writer
Small-town Nebraska native becomes big-time comic book writer

Growing up in Lewellen –– a micropolis near the bottom of the Nebraska panhandle –– Van Jensen didn't have a lot of options for comic books.


Watch Alexander Payne's 1985 student film 'Carmen'
Watch Alexander Payne's 1985 student film 'Carmen'

Here's a treat for Alexander Payne fans: some of the filmmaker's earliest work, a 1985 short silent film Payne made while he was at the UCLA Film School.


Primer: Hand-brewing coffee at home

To start hand-brewing coffee at home, you need some equipment.


Keke Palmer to become TV’s youngest talk show host
Keke Palmer to become TV’s youngest talk show host

LOS ANGELES — Keke Palmer legally cannot buy beer. But she can host a daily talk show.


What to watch: Stan's personal life unravels on 'The Americans'
What to watch: Stan's personal life unravels on 'The Americans'

A botched mission impacts Philip and Elizabeth in different ways. Meanwhile, Stan’s personal life unravels.


Waxahatchee’s vague lyrics hide personal feelings
Waxahatchee’s vague lyrics hide personal feelings

Waxahatchee rose out of Katie Crutchfield’s old bands, and a few bad breakups.


The best bar/restaurant patios in the Omaha area
The best bar/restaurant patios in the Omaha area

It's outdoor dining time again for Omahans. That narrow window of warm -- but not too warm -- weather that makes the ingestion process a bit more enjoyable.


 
Search
Movies Opening this week

Movie showtimes and theater listings






Read this!








VIDEOS

Tonight in Prime Time
© 2014 Omaha World-Herald. All rights reserved