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Concordia St. Paul News

February 20, 2019

William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” Comes to CSP

Every fall and spring semester, Concordia’s theatre department puts on several plays directed by a faculty member or even a theatre student.

William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” comes to CSP’s Westlund Black Box Theatre tomorrow evening. Mark Rosenwinkel, chair of the theatre department and the director of this play, describes it as a love story comedy of mistaken identity, mixed up love, foolery, partying, and the near catastrophe of it all. Audiences may be familiar with one if its Hollywood adaptations including the film, “She’s the Man,” starring Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum. CSP Theatre Department Promo Poster for Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night"

Rosenwinkel is the one who decided to produce this play. In fact, he has even played one of the characters, Duke Orsino, before.

Overall, Rosenwinkel enjoys the play itself. He enjoys the foolery and love as well as the absence of violence. “The play is outrageously funny as well as unexpected,” he explained. “Some parts of the play will be funny and poetic the next, as well as having a melancholy layer under all of it.”

He thinks it is entertaining as well as a piece of good storytelling and why he chose to produce this play for spring.

Planning for this production started at the beginning of the school year with discussions of the set design starting even earlier. Auditions took place before Christmas, and since then, Rosenwinkel, the cast, and the crew have been working hard on it. Rosenwinkel stated that, while working on the play, the crew decided to change a few things. “We made the play shorter as well as added in new music to fill in spaces in the play,” he noted. They also retained the Shakespearean language.

CSP has put their twist on other aspects as well including the design of the play’s promotional posters. The beginning of “Twelfth Night” starts off with people at a party, hanging out, falling in love, and having fun. Rosenwinkel wanted to convey that same kind of feeling when promoting the play, thus inspiring the Caribbean-style posters boasting bright colors and palm trees.

As the performances creep up, Rosenwinkel is thinking about the audience and how they’re going to react to the play. “Every audience is different and you never knows how the audience is going to react to the play,” he offered.

While the cast and crew have worked on bringing the play to life, it is often the audience that “teaches” the cast what they’ve been working on This is seen in whether the audience shows confusion, entertained, boredom, or if they’re drawn into the romance. The audience has a great ability to show what the cast and crew have brought out of the play’s text.

Most actors experience nervousness from performing in front of a crowd at some point, even for veterans of the art. Rosenwinkel reminds the cast that the audience will laugh at the story since it is a humorous play. Of course, the cast will have to make the storyline clear so the audience can follow the story past its funny lines. As far as favorite characters go, Rosenwinkel noted that the audience usually likes the character, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, whom he jokingly referred to as a “bumbling idiot.” Sir Andrew is rich but also easily persuaded. The character’s lines are funny, goofy, and are sure to give the audience a few chuckles.

Twelfth Night” opens Thursday, February 21 at 7:30 pm in CSP’s Westlund Theatre and continues with showings Friday evening at 7:30 pm, Saturday evening at 7:30 pm, and a Sunday matinee at 2:00 pm.  

For more information, please visit the Concordia events page at https://www.csp.edu/events/ as well as the event’s Facebook page via Concordia University Theatre and Dance.

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