Every year, the University of Rhode Island’s theatre program produces a work by Shakespeare. This year was no different, producing a modernized version of Twelfth Night. The play tells of a pair of twins, separated by a shipwreck. Viola, the sister, disguises herself as a man named Cesario, where she falls in love with the duke she serves. When the duke sends Viola to profess his love to a countess, Olivia, the countess mistakenly falls in love with Viola, thinking that she is a man.
While the skeleton and storyline of the play remain in the university’s production, the environment could not be farther from the original. In large part due to the prominence of music within the original production, the university set much of their interpretation within a dance club, using contemporary music from Doja Cat to instrumentals of Elvis pieces.
Alongside the more contemporary music throughout, the wardrobe department took the production to new heights, sporting colorful jackets adorned with bright patterns, only adding to the feel of a contemporary production. During the play, Malvolio, an assistant in Olivia’s house, is tricked into believing that Olivia is secretly in love with him and is convinced to wear a bright yellow outfit. This outfit was meant to convince Olivia that Malvolio had gone mad, and it does just that. It is designed beautifully, and it conveys its purpose masterfully.
Overall, the show was a wonderful rendition of one of Shakespeare’s most classic works. It brought interesting changes and made modern a classic story. As with many productions, the University of Rhode Island’s theatre program, the show was incredibly well rehearsed and was technically solid and well put together. While Twelfth Night’s run on the university’s stage has come to a close, the spring season still has one more show. The theater program will stage the Rocky Horror Show from April 21 until May 1. With the quality their previous performances have had, it should be something to look forward to.
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