Posts Tagged ‘Twelfth Night’

It’s hard to believe the life that Improbable Fictions has had thus far: twenty five separate staged readings since 2010, covering Shakespeare, Aeschylus, Euripides, Elizabeth Cary, and Terry Pratchett, readings that have drawn on actors and audience members from the University of Alabama and the community of Tuscaloosa. It’s my pleasure today to announce a few details about the seventh season of IF. (Wait a moment, I’m quickly checking my math…yes, SEVENTH SEASON).

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Wednesday, October 7th, 2015, 7:30pm at the Tuscaloosa Cultural Arts Center (here) IF will present Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, adapted by Alaina Jobe Pangburn and myself back in 2010. You can find the script here (Helms.Jobe.Twelfth Night Script, Aug 2015), and if you’re interested in participating you can reach me at nrhelms@ua.edu. Hopefully this time around I’ll just be directing and won’t have to play Orsino as well!

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015, also at the CAC at 7:30pm, IF will present Shakes’ Hamlet, adapted and directed by Jacob Crawford, whom you can reach at jcrawford1@crimson.ua.edu.

We’re also working on a reading of Heiner Müller’s Hamletmachine in December and a possible performance at the Kentuck Festival of the Arts in October. Details will be announced when I have them!

~nrhelms

Next week, UA Theatre presents Twelfth Night

Posted: November 13, 2014 by nrhelms in Announcements
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There’s an abundance of Shakespeare in Tuscaloosa this fall! Here are some of the offerings.

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Workshops:

This fall, Improbable Fictions will be hosting a series of one-hour workshops on Shakespeare in performance. Our first event will be this coming Thursday, September 11th at 7:30, when Mark Hughes Cobb will lead a workshop entitled “Rude Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing and Outdoor Performance.” Mark will discuss the history of the Rude Mechanicals, a Tuscaloosa Shakespeare troupe, and will break down key skills actors and directors use when preparing Shakespeare’s plays for a contemporary outdoor setting. Audience participation will be encouraged.

Later workshops include: September 25th: An Introduction to Shakespearean Acting, led by Prof. Seth Panitch; October 16th: First Folio Techniques, led by Nic Barilar; and October 23rd: Speak the Speech, led by Prof. Steve Burch.

All workshops will be held downtown at the Paul R. Jones Art Gallery, 2308 6th Street, Tuscaloosa at 7:30pm each evening. These events are free and open to the public, and are sponsored by the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at the University of Alabama.

Films:

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This year the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies begins a Shakespeare on Film series at the Bama Theatre in downtown Tuscaloosa. All films are free and open to the public. We’ve scheduled a range of films, some you’ve no doubt seen and loved, others you’ve not. We offer a teen Taming in Ten Things About You, which stars Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt and we offer an African American Taming in Deliver Us From Eva! We offer the unnerving noir of The Bad Sleep Well, in which a young Japanese executive tracks down his father’s killer; we balance that Hamlet with To Be or Not to Be, a serious comedy starring Jack Benny and Carole Lombard, shot during World War II. We offer song and dance in West Side Story and Love’s Labor’s Lost. We offer Robby the Robot and film’s first $1,000,000 budget in Forbidden Planet. Inspiration is offered for a lot less; in Shakespeare Behind Bars, one can appreciate the efforts of theater professionals working with inmates as they try to change their lives. Please enjoy for the first time or again! 

Here is the line-up:

* September 15, 2014: Strode Film SeriesTen Things I Hate About You
* October 13, 2014: Strode Film Series – Shakespeare Behind Bars
* November 4, 2014: Strode Film Series – The Bad Sleep Well
* December 16, 2014: Strode Film Series – To Be Or Not to Be
* January 19, 2015: Strode Film Series – West Side Story
* February 16, 2015: Strode Film Series – Deliver Us From Eva
* March 11, 2015: Strode Film Series – Forbidden Planet
* April 27, 2015: Strode Film Series – Love’s Labour’s Lost

All films start at 7:30pm, and are free and open to the public.

Staged Readings:

Improbable Fictions will present two staged readings this semester: Richard III on Wed, Oct 1st, directed by Nic Helms, and As You Like It on Thurs. Dec 4th, directed by Deborah Parker.  Both staged readings will be held in the Dinah Washington black box theatre at the Tuscaloosa Cultural Arts Center. Shows start at 7:30pm, with pre-show music at 7:00pm. Free and open to the public.

On Stage:

The University of Alabama’s Department of Theatre and Dance presents Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, adapted and directed by Seth Panitch, from November 18-23. The play is set in 1920s New Orleans, and will involve elements of jazz and voodoo. Tickets can be purchased online or at UATD’s box office on campus.

ShakesFilm: Nunn’s *Twelfth Night.*

Posted: February 3, 2011 by nrhelms in ShakesFilm
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Trevor Nunn’s 1996 Twelfth Night.  Perhaps one of the saddest productions of TN; certainly one of the best.  Sunday, 7:00pm, Morgan 301.

 

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On March 25th, 2010, we held our first staged reading: Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.  You’ll find the cast list and program notes below.  We should have offered special thanks to Lady Gaga, but we didn’t know that her music would save the show.  Laughter was scarce for the first two acts: a death knell for this comedy.  It seemed that Shakespeare was a bit inaccessible for our largely undergraduate audience.  They were uncomfortable.  And dangerously silent.  Shakespeare was “high” culture, something you watch silently and respectfully: something you endure.  So when Mark Hughes Cobb (playing Feste) prepared to walk onstage for act three, he was a bit desperate to finally force a laugh from the crowd.  “How does that Lady Gaga song go?” he asked before leaving the wings.

So it was that Feste began act 3 by humming “Bad Romance.”  The Bama Theatre seemed to crack open with laughter, and the rest of the show went beautifully.  I’m sure that good old Bill was dancing along in his grave.  Laughter.  Spectacle.  Engagement.  That’s culture.

Thanks, Lady Gaga, for inaugurating Improbable Fictions.

The Players

ORSINO, Duke of Illyria…………………………………………….. Nic Helms

VIOLA, in love with the Duke……………………………… Jean Fuller-Scott

OLIVIA, a rich Countess of Illyria…………………………….. Aubrey Dean

SIR TOBY BELCH, Uncle to Olivia………………………. Charles Prosser

SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK, a Knight…………………. Regan Stevens

MARIA, Olivia’s Woman…………………………………. Marian Mantovani

MALVOLIO, Steward to Olivia………………………………… Nick Shabel

FESTE, a Clown, Servant to Olivia………………….. Mark Hughes Cobb

SEBASTIAN, Brother to Viola……………………………… Coston Perkins

ANTONIO, a Sea Captain………………………………. Wescott Youngson

FABIAN, Servant to Olivia……………………………………….. Steve Burch

A Gentleman, A Sea Captain, An Officer………………… Deborah Parker

Reading Directed and Produced by…………. Nic Helms and Alaina Jobe

Stage Manager………………………………………………………….. Scott Free

If this were played upon on a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.

Shakespearean comedies rely on certain conventions: disguises, jokes, romance, and a plot that involves a great deal of confusion, misunderstandings that must be unraveled and set right by the end of the play. Twelfth Night is no exception, a comedy that is dependent on mistaken identity. Nearly every thread of the play can be traced back to Viola’s decision to disguise herself as the young man, Cesario. As Cesario, she becomes Orsino’s confidante, which leads to her falling in love with him. As Cesario, she woos Olivia on behalf of Orsino, causing Olivia to fall in love with her. Her disguise is the root of Antonio’s confusion, Sir Andrew’s challenge, and Feste’s frustration. The alternate title of the play, What You Will, invites the audience to interpret the events, the characters, and the situations in Twelfth Night as they see fit, either as straight comedy, with a few gags and a madcap plot, or as something deeper, a story of love and loss.

And the play is, of course, both at once, a genuinely funny romp onstage and yet a means of considering the depth and feeling of love. Viola and Sebastian are touchingly reunited, both certain the other was dead. New relationships have blossomed by the end of the play: Olivia and Viola get their men and Sir Toby marries Maria. And yet we cannot help but question the authenticity of the loves that we see, as they are, in some respects, too convenient or perhaps even counterfeit, as untrue as Viola’s disguise. Is this really happily ever after? And what of Malvolio, threatening revenge after the cruel trick that Sir Toby and the others have played on him? Is this a happy ending for Antonio, who is cast off by Sebastian? Taking the play as we will is the challenge of Twelfth Night, which invites us to consider the nature of love in a more critical light, to take note of its many forms and disguises, and ultimately, to decide if what we see onstage is genuine or an improbable fiction.

~ Alaina Jobe ~