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Sunday, December 03, 2023
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‘Twelfth Night’ hopes to give Shakespeare a Madison twist

The UW-Madison Department of Theatre and Drama’s musical adaptation of a Shakespeare classic runs until Nov. 19.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Theatre and Drama is performing “Twelfth Night,” a musical adaptation of the Shakespeare comedy of the same name, which runs until Nov. 19.

The adaptation was first conceived by Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub. Under guest director Aimée Hayes, a freelance director from Brooklyn, the University Theatre Department’s production introduces several Madison twists which are bound to make “Twelfth Night” memorable for UW-Madison students. Notably, the Red Gym, flamingoes, the Bucky statue, the front of a sorority house and The Orpheum Theatre.

“What elements from this world feel like they should be involved here, and how far do we want to go?” Hayes told The Daily Cardinal. “It was truly a collaborative effort. It feels local” 

“Twelfth Night” tells the story of a shipwrecked young woman, Viola (Sydney Germany), and her journey in a strange new land. After washing up on the shores of Illyria, Viola becomes entrenched in a maddening array of romance. While in disguise as a man, Viola falls in love with the duke, Orsino (Ava Childs). However, Duke Orsino finds himself falling for Countess Olivia (Amelia Eichmeier), who is in turn in love with Viola's male disguise, Cesario.

While in the grip of this love triangle, Viola eventually discovers her true love. Chaotic and action-packed, “Twelfth Night” blissfully blends romance and comedy.

“There’s dancing, there’s music, there’s sword fighting, there’s fighting. Every kind of action you can imagine,” Hayes said. 

With no shortage of laughs and gasps, “Twelfth Night” will surely be an exciting and entertaining 90 minutes. While the production has all the romance and intrigue one could expect from Shakespeare’s original work, Kwei-Armah and Taub’s musical rendition of “Twelfth Night” adds a boldness and flavor that appeals to a younger, modern audience.  

Hayes began working on the production in May and has been preparing in Madison since late September. She called the adaptation “a big, joyous revisioning of the original script.”

With a hometown feel, a modern sound and plenty of action, University Theatre hopes to give their audience a more approachable Shakespeare in their production of “Twelfth Night.” 

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