San Diego Theater Preview: TWELFTH NIGHT, OR WHAT YOU WILL (The Old Globe)

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by Tony Frankel on June 20, 2015

in Theater-Los Angeles,Theater-Regional


A comedy’s brewing up in the rehearsal rooms of The Old Globe. Soon, winds will whip, distressed voices will call out and a ship’s timbers will be shivering, cracking, and smashing against a coastline—all in the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre of course. Two castaways—the lady Viola and the captain—will sputter and make sense of where they’ve landed in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, or What You Will, which opens June 21 and plays through July 26, 2015.

Viola and her twin, Sebastian, land on different shores, each fearing the other has perished (consider them separated at surf). And by the time they are reunited, love, pranks and much romantic confusion will have played out in Shakespeare’s fleet comedy about passions, mistaken identities and unrequited hankerings.


Most exciting about this outing is that Rebecca Taichman will be returning in the director’s chair. Her astounding production of the time-traveling Time and the Conways blew me away (see my review). Artistic Director Barry Edelstein notes: “Taichman has gathered a cast at the highest level of American stage acting and a team of design collaborators who are as gifted as any we have, and her rich imagination and superb craft will bring to our audience an evening that is sure to be transporting.”

The muddle of the tale begins in earnest when Viola (Rutina Wesley) assumes a masculine disguise as young Cesario and lands in the employ of Orsino (Terence Archie), the duke of Illyria. The Duke is smitten with Olivia (Sara Topham). Alas, the Illyrian countess does not return his affections but instead appears wed to mourning her dead brother. When Orsino sends Cesario to plead his passion, Olivia is roused. Only there’s a hitch: The lady is taken with the lady posing as a lad. Meanwhile, Viola is increasingly enamored of Orsino, and complications, as they say, ensue.

A night outdoors seeing Shakespeare at the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre can’t be beat. Still, why not make it a day by seeing another Old Globe show indoors to cool off during the day. It’s a twin/twin situation!

photo by Jim Cox

Twelfth Night, or What You Will
Lowell Davies Festival Theater
The Old Globe in San Diego
ends on July 26, 2015
for tickets, call 619.234-5623 or visit

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