If you, like me, have a tendency to get all your Shakespearean romantic comedies confused, here's a brief reminder. Twelfth Night is the one with the shipwrecked male and female twins who are separated, each thinking the other is drowned. Viola decides to disguise herself as a man, as one does in such situations, calling herself Cesario and going into service for the Duke Orsino. On his behalf she woos the mourning Olivia, who wants nothing to do with the Duke but falls for young Cesario, who in turn is in love with the Duke. Viola's twin Sebastian shows up later causing much amusing Shakespearean confusion. Meanwhile, Olivia's kinsman, Sir Toby the buffoon, and her handmaid Maria play a cruel trick on another member of her household, Malvolio, using his love for Olivia to humiliate him. It's all tied together with music, "the food of love," and in the end everyone lives happily ever after as true identities are revealed.
|Randy Reyes (director and Feste) and the cast of Twelfth Night|
(photo by Keri Pickett)
|the chorus with Olivia (Francesca McKenzie) and|
Maria (Su-Yoon Ko, photo by Keri Pickett)
Mu's take on Twelfth Night is musical, playful, and fun. It doesn't delve too deeply into the issues in the play (gender, identity, love, e.g., both the Duke and Sebastian are played by women, but I'm not really sure what that's supposed to signify, if anything), but it's a summer comedy and is as light and refreshing as one should be. And providing a place for Asian-American actors to play all sorts of roles is not insignificant in a world where the practice of "yellow face" still exists. Twelfth Night continues at Mixed Blood Theatre through June 14 (discount tickets available on Goldstar)