SFA's 'Twelfth Night' to engage audiences
November 16, 2009 - Sylvia Bierschenk
NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - The colorful towering wall of weathered wooden planks partially painted with fading advertisements and flanked by screens of tropical foliage literally and figuratively sets the stage for the current production of William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night."
The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre will present the romantic comedy at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, through Saturday, Nov. 21, in W.M. Turner Auditorium.
In a functional sense, the set suggests a locale in an exotic, tropical climate--the fictitious seaside country of Illyria. But the visual complexity created by overlapping elements also prepares the audience for the entangled plots involving disguise and mistaken identities that are about to unfold on the stage, explained Dana Gloege, newly appointed assistant professor of scenic design at SFA.
In fact, the entire production is a juxtaposition of disparate elements: 17th century language, 20th century Hollywood-inspired costumes, original music and 21st century technology, said Scott Shattuck, director of the SFA School of Theatre and of the play.
"We want to grab the audience's attention, to engage them in the creative process and invite them to put the elements together," Shattuck said. "Of course, we also want to invite them to relax and enjoy all the beauty and humor that the play has to offer."
The incorporation of two 8- by 10-foot screens is another way to engage the audiences. Onto these will be projected off-stage camera work and live feeds of selected moments occurring on stage. Shattuck likens the effect to the jumbo screens used in large sports arenas or stadiums.
"Our presentation of 'Twelfth Night' provides an appropriate introduction of some of the new techniques Dana will be incorporating into our shows," Shattuck said. "We are excited about not only this production, but our future ones with him as well."
"Twelfth Night" is a joint presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts, School of Theatre and the 2009-2010 University Series. W.M. Turner Auditorium is located in the Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Dr.
Prior to the Nov. 17 performance, Shattuck will give an informative talk at 7 p.m. in Griffith Gallery, across the hall from Turner Auditorium. The audience is invited back to the gallery after the performance for a reception honoring the event's corporate sponsor, Tipton Ford-Lincoln Mercury of Nacogdoches.
Tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for seniors and $6 for students. For tickets or more information, please visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.