Sneck Up: A Sneak Peek at This Summer’s Twelfth Night

“What country, friends, is this?”

After a violent shipwreck, Viola (Bree Elrod) finds herself separated from her brother Sebastian (Ben Auxier) and stranded on the shores of Illyria. Luckily, the ship’s captain (Mark Robbins) is familiar with Illyria and tells her about Duke Orsino (Matthew Williamson) and his court. In need of refuge, Viola enlists the captain’s help to disguise her as a man named Cesario and has the captain lead her to the Duke’s house.

“If music be the food of love, play on!”

Meanwhile, Orsino pines away for the love of Olivia (Vanessa Severo), who has spurned his advances after the wake of her brother and father’s deaths. When Cesario arrives to his household, Orsino asks for his help in wooing the lady. Because of his feminine-like qualities, Orsino thinks Cesario might be able to win over Olivia more easily.

“Where lies your text?”

Madness ensues when Olivia, smitten by Cesario’s honesty, falls for Cesario and entreats him to stay with her. But Cesario’s heart lies elsewhere; after all the time she’s spent with him, the disguised Viola has now fallen in love with the Duke.

“I am no fighter.”

Other wooers of Olivia’s—especially her uncle Toby’s (Scott Cordes) friend Sir Andrew (Jacques Roy), aren’t too fond of Cesario’s ease in wooing the lady. There’s no other way to solve that than with a good ol’ fashioned duel.  Sir Andrew throws down the challenge to Cesario, not realizing that the two now have to duke it out for real, and neither are especially good fighters.

“How will this fadge?”

Who wins the duel? Who finally wins Olivia’s heart? Who restores peace to Illyria?

Check out Twelfth Night, now running Tuesdays-Sundays until July 3 in Southmoreland Park, to find out!

–Alyson Germinder, Heart of America Shakespeare Festival Dramaturg

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