By: Jodie Darrell, Staff Reporter & Jyllian Roach, Managing Editor | Photo By: Scott M. Roberts, Photo Journalist
The Vortex Theatre’s production of Williams Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” is entertaining, witty and saturated with a dazzling cast. Director Brian Hansen’s decision to set the play in post-World War I Italy breathed fresh relevancy into the 400-year-old work.
Filled with hilarious antics, “Twelfth Night” can seem chaotic at times, but in the end carries a well-received message about gender roles and life in a man’s world. The play was a smashing success and the laughter was contagious.
Caitlin Aase, who plays gender-bending Viola, delivers the role with incredible grace and understanding. As Viola masquerades as manly Cesario, Aase makes it as easy to forget that a woman is playing the part. When returning to the very feminine Viola, Aase is equally effective.
Charles Fisher is absolutely delightful as the taciturn Malvolio, who has become enamored of the Countess Olivia, played by Jessica Record. The scene in which Malvolio dons canary yellow stockings, in a mistaken attempted to prove his love for the countess, is perfectly – and hilariously – delivered by Fisher.
Even the actors with minor roles, like CNM TRiO Adviser Rob Carriaga as the Holy Father and Linda Williams as gentlewoman Maria, offer shining performances in just a few short lines. Hansen bolsters the stage time for the minor characters with the addition of an incredible scene.
In between a few of the main scenes, the then-common practice of passing a love letter through a fence gives the opportunity for the lineless ladies-in-waiting to spend time each as the only character on the stage. This ingenious bit offers insight into Hansen’s creativity and consideration for every cast member.
“Twelfth Night” is the story of Viola and Sebastian (played by Billy Trabaudo), who are twins separated in a shipwreck and who each believe the other dead. In order to survive, Viola dresses herself up as a page named Cesario in the Dukes court. Soon after, Sebastian arrives in town and mistaken identity ensues. Add in three separate love triangles and what occurs is comedy gold.
Overall, the entire production has the kind of comic drama that can only be found in a Shakespeare play. The cast played the roles with precision and execution worthy of the Bard of Avon. It is a must see.
“Twelfth Night” runs Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through July 15 at the Vortex Theater, located at 2004 ½ Central Ave. Student tickets are $10 at the door. For more information, call 247-8600 or visit vortexabq.org.