Shakespeare’s gender-bending comedy will be presented for the second time on February 2, 2021 at 7pm CST and directed by Peter Vamvakas. A cast of seven will play all roles, providing the opportunity for intriguing double casting. Shakira Searle will play both twins separated by a shipwreck – Viola, who pretends to be a man after landing on the shore in the kingdom of Illyria; and her twin brother Sebastian, who is missing and presumed dead after the storm at sea. 

The cast of the encore performance of TWELFTH NIGHT: Top Row L-R: Alicia Berneche, Anne Marie Lewis, Maggie Clennon-Reberg, Shakira Seale.
Lower Row L-R: Thomas M. Shea, Peter Vamvakas, Sarafina Vecchio.

In Shakespeare’s classic comedy of gender identity and mistaken identities, a shipwreck off the coast of Illyria separates the twin siblings Viola and Sebastian. After Viola lands safely on shore, with Sebastian presumed dead, Viola pretends to be a man called Cesario and finds a job as servant to the Duke Orsino. Orsino is in love with Olivia, who is deep in grief over the death of brother and refuses to see Orsino. Orsino sends “Cesario” to deliver a message, but the situation becomes more complicated when Olivia falls in love with Viola/Cesario, believing her to be a man. That and further mischief in Olivia’s court cause much confusion before the final resolution.

Vamvakas says, “My approach to directing this adaptation of TWELFTH NIGHT is to ignore the pitfalls of gender specific casting and to cast based on talent alone. What makes TWELFTH NIGHT perfect for the Pride in Place series is it questions conventional ideas about gender and sexuality, portraying gender as performative and suggesting erotic possibilities between same-sex pairs.”