Source: Sherman Publications

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Twelfth Night comes to Orion
Shakespearian play comes to life in a western setting

September 07, 2011

By Olivia Shumaker

Special Writer for The Review

Lake Orion High School's Thespian Group is offering a little Shakespeare with the start of school this month.

They are performing William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night at the Wildwood Pavilion at the Civic Center Park, Sept. 24 and 25. Performances are at 1 and 6 p.m. There are no ticket fees, but donations to the thespian troupe are being accepted.

"Twelfth Night is a story about twins that get separated by a shipwreck," said Alexis Attinoto, director and producer of the performance. "The sister gets stuck in a foreign land and she has to start back up on her feet but she can't do that as a woman. Since Viola, the sister, cannot support herself as a woman, she takes the name Cesario and pretends to be a man."

In the true fashion of a Shakespeare comedy, multiple comic incidents ensue.

"It's like an hour and a half of awkward moments," stated junior Jacob Buchholz, who plays Duke Orsino.

The performance has been a work in progress since June, when the play was cast during the last week of school. It was set as a western to be more relatable for the audience.

"We're all funny people and we don't like it sappy," said senior Kathryn Havrilla, who plays Andrew. "We like to keep it funny, and this show is funny. Even the romantic stuff is funny."

The humorous moments do, however, require more effort on the part of the actors, considering that the play is in Old English. With Shakespeare, lines have to be closely interpreted to catch the many wordplays, metaphors, and occasional innuendos, cast members said. An actor might see the character differently than a director and his or her understanding of the character, or lack thereof, will translate to the audience most of whom are not familiar with Shakespeare.

"You have to put a lot more emotion into it because half of the audience doesn't know what you're saying," insisted senior Brianna Lee, who plays Maria.

Still, the closeness among the thespians helps keep the stress down. Part of an international society, students must complete 15 hours of service to earn points before they can become a thespian. Spending this much time together means friends are bound to be made.

Friendships also require respect. While the summer production is a casual introduction to the Thespian Society, it is also completely student run, which means members must be willing to accept authority—and sometimes criticism—from their peers.

"You're challenging yourself but you're also having fun doing it," said junior Alanah Harper-Brecht, who plays Valentine.

Thespians have been challenging themselves all summer to perform Twelfth Night, working independently and together to prepare for the September performances.

"It's enjoyable, so people should come out and see it," said Buchholz.