The George School performing arts department is excited to bring Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night to Walton Auditorium on Friday, November 5 and Saturday, November 6, 2021. Twelfth Night was first printed in the 1623 collection of what is now known as the First Folio.
A romantic comedy, Twelfth Night focuses on the intersections of love and power. “For this season, I have chosen the theme ‘Faces of Love: A Tribute to the Bard,’” said Director Mo West. “Twelfth Night seemed an almost obvious choice. Considered to be one of the Bard’s highest achievements for its sheer comedy; it is pure entertainment and joy. So skillful is Shakespeare’s treatment of his material that audiences forget the plot turns on an improbable set of circumstances, coincidences, and mistaken identities – thus also befitting the many faces that love can present.”
For Liz Merkulova ’22, who plays Viola, later disguised as Cesario in the production, one of the most challenging aspects of the play was learning to understand the language. “A lot of the work for the role was in understanding the language,” said Liz. “Both Mo and our incredible dramaturg, Rose Xu ’22, have helped so much with diving into the meanings of my lines. Mo and Kevin (Davis) have also helped me understand the theater conventions of the time period and how they differ from modern-day productions, which has given me a new understanding about the approach to developing the character and the movement for the role.”
To choreograph the swordplay scenes in the play, Mo turned to certified fight director Oliver Donahue. “Working with Oliver was difficult, but super interesting,” said Liz. “The first day we learned the basics of swordplay and fencing, which included stance and foundational moves. The second day we blocked the scenes in the production where we actually utilize the swords, bringing together what we learned the night before and the acting that comes with it. There’s a lot more that goes into swordplay than I expected, but it was so rewarding!”
Catch the sword fight and more November 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Walton Auditorium. Both shows are free and open to the public. Audience members must be masked at all times while on campus. Both performances will also be livestreamed.