If you ventured into the leafy forests of Egerton Park, on the border between New Haven and Hamden, just to see the unique Spanish set designed by Vladimir Shpitalnik and his trusty student crew of eight, it would be worth the trip. The plethora of pillars and the abundance of archways welcome this well schooled cast of players as they present, at sunset and then under the stars, the delightful Shakespearian comedy “Twelfth Night.”
For the twentieth season, Elm Shakespeare is offering an incredible gift to the community, continuing from tonight to the 30th and then September 1-6 at 8 p.m. Come enjoy the drunken antics of Sir Toby Belch (James Andreassi) and his inebriated comrade Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Jeremy Funke) as they commit antics in the home of Sir Toby’s niece, the fair but melancholy Olivia (Andrea Goldman).
With the instigation of Olivia's maid Maria (Paula Plum), the men plot the complete embarrassment of Olivia’s male servant Malvolio (Raphael Massie) who is easily manipulated to believe Olivia loves him. He dons yellow cross-gartered stockings and a permanent smile to prove his ardor for her. And this is but one of the minor diversions of the Bard.
A storm at sea has separated the twins Viola (Lydia Barnett-Mulligan) and Sebastian (Teddy Hall) in the country of Illyria and each believes the other has drown. Viola, to preserve her womanhood, disguises herself as a male servant Cesario and secures a position in the court of Duke Orsinio (Aaron Moss). As Cesario, she soon finds herself wooing Olivia in the Duke’s stead (think Cyrano de Bergerac). Olivia, who is in mourning and has spurned the Duke, finds herself drawn to the sweet words of Cesario and offers him her heart.
Not to be undone, Cesario unwittingly is captured by the Duke’s fine figure of a man and Cupid is off and running hither and yon. All the while, Jacob Heimer as Feste provides wonderful songs, many original, to add to the evening’s pleasures. Once again, director James Andreassi has assembled a stellar cast to present one of Will’s most favorite delights. Don’t miss it!
Come with picnics, chairs and blankets (and a flash light) and take the whole family too. The performances are free but donations are most appreciated.
Elm Shakespeare will hold a Gala and Auction on Thursday, September 3 at 5 p.m. in Edgerton Park, 75 Cliff Street, New Haven with fabulous food and entertainment. Come visit the south of Spain in “A Night at the Alhambra.” For tickets ($75-200 plus fees), go to www.elmshakespeare.org. You can even buy auction items online if you can’t attend the gala. A performance of “Twelfth Night” will follow.
Watch mistaken identities lead to comic complications that are sure to be joyful. Never fear, in the end, “all’s well that ends well."