NACOGDCOCHES, TEXAS - From Thursday, Nov. 17, through Saturday, Nov. 21, the W.M. Turner stage will be transformed into the island of Illyria, a tropical paradise where Stephen F. Austin State University theatre students will enact William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" each evening at 7:30.
The make-believe world provides the perfect honeymoon-like setting for a comedy that is devoted to love in many forms, said Samantha Walker, Houston sophomore who portrays the lead character Viola.
Although the play was written over 400 years ago, its focus on love and foolishness makes it pertinent to contemporary audiences, explained Scott Shattuck, director of the SFA School of Theatre and of the play.
"It's just amazing how universal and timeless the story is," Shattuck continued. "The play makes it clear that in the early 1600s people fell in love, got crushes, got obsessed and acted foolishly in exactly the same way as we do now."
The plot's universality will make it easy for audience members to connect with any number of the characters, Walker added. They may relate to those who are happily in love, those who are in love but can't declare it, those whose love is not returned, or those whose hearts are broken.
Shakespeare further draws the audience in by employing disguised lovers, trickery and mistaken identities in the numerous plots and subplots.
"The audience members naturally find the romantic stories even more interesting because they are privy to all of the tricks and deceptions being played out on stage," said Daniel Gambill, Quitman senior who plays Curio.
"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.