Author Archive for: ‘KedarAdour’

One man beats a full house of ladies in Twelfth Night at CalShakes

Catherine Castellanos as Sir Toby Belch, Domenique Lozano as Maria and Margo Hall as Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night at Cal Shakes. Photo by Kevin Berne

Twelfth Night: Comedy by William Shakespeare. Directed by Christopher Liam Moore. California Shakespeare Theater (CalShakes), Bruns Amphitheater 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda, CA. 510-548-9666 or May 30 – June 21, 2015

One man beats a full house of ladies in Twelfth Night at CalShakes Rating: ★★★☆☆

There is an (un)written dictum that 2015 will be the “year of the women” in Bay Area theatre. Shotgun Theatre is performing only plays written by woman and CalShakes enters the arena with women actors playing the major male roles in Shakespeare’s perfect comedy Twelfth Night.  The casting director has imported the multitalented Ted Deasy to play the jester Feste and other male roles as needed. He is a sort ringmaster for this three ring circus of misplaced love.

But we are getting ahead of the story. After shipwrecked twins Viola and Sebastian end up in Illyria each believe the other dead. Viola disguises herself as a boy/man eventually becoming Cesario the page to Count Orsino. Orsino is in love with Olivia who rejects him even when Cesario/Viola pleads Orsino’s suit.  Viola/Cesario falls in love with the Count and Olivia falls in love with Cesario/Viola. When Sebastian shows up the plot thickens further.

A secondary plot involves Olivia’s cousin, the drunkard Sir Toby Belch who brings along the rich Sir Andrew Aguecheek into Olivia’s home to court Olivia and to fund his revels. Olivia’s puritanical steward Malvolio puts a kybosh on Toby and Andrew’s  revels. Maria, Olivia’s handmaiden has the ‘hots’ for Toby and she devises a plot to punish Malvolio.

That’s more than enough of the story. It is the staging, direction and acting that carry the evening.  Director Moore does more with less and is aided and abetted by Deasy. The stage is a simple high curved stone background (set by Nina Ball) with a large black casket on casters out of which Feste appears and the fun begins.

As you will remember the opening lines are: “If music be the food of love, play on; Give me excess of it. . .” and they do with apple I-tunes and fine singing by Deasy. Cell phones, including ‘selfie photos’ are used along with many other bits of modern shtick. The casket holds many of the props to be used and plays an integral part in Malvolio’s punishment. The pace is appropriately hectic with over the top emoting by most members of the cast who are fashionably dressed in outrageous/attractive costumes befitting an Elizabethan play.

Lisa Anne Porter switches from Viola to Sebastian with a simple rotation of the cap she/he is wearing and a change in demeanor.  It is a bit clumsy but it works. Catherine Castellanos as Sir Toby outshines Margo Hall as Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Rami Margron as Count Orsino. Stacy Ross as the much put upon Malvolio is perfect and has the audience’s attention as she/he is put through a very rough manhandling by the miscreants.

Beautiful Julie Eccles handles the ‘love scenes’ with Cesario/Viola with grace and dignity while Viola/Cesario seems embarrassed with her love scene with the Count. Dominque Lozano is a charming schemer has great comic timing not to be outmatched by the emoting of Castellanos or Hall.

It is a fun evening made even better when the fog and wind did not materialize during the 2 hour and 40 minute performance. Recommendation: A should see with a ‘must see’ to watch Ted Deasy. ( If they have not done so already, they should sign him up to play opposite the inimitable Danny Scheie in the upcoming Mystery of Irma Vep).

ARTISTIC STAFF: Directed by Christopher Liam Moore; Designed by Nina Ball (set designer), Meg Neville (costume designer), Burke Brown (lighting designer), and Andre J. Pluess (sound designer).

CAST; Catherine Castellanos (Sir Toby Belch, Ensemble); Ted Deasy (Feste, Ensemble); Julie Eccles (Olivia, Ensemble); Margo Hall (Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Ensemble), Domenique Lozano (Maria, Ensemble); Rami Margron (Duke Orsino, Ensemble); Lisa Anne Porter (Viola, Sebastian, Ensemble); and Stacy Ross (Malvolio, Ensemble)

Kedar K. Adour, MD

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