‘Twelfth Night’ for One Night Only at MSUM
Published: Monday, October 21, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 21, 2013 15:10
Professional theatrics are taking over Minnesota State University Moorhead’s Hansen Theatre this Saturday as part of the university’s Cheryl Nelson Lossett Performing Arts Series. As the second of four shows in the 2013-2014 arts series, “Twelfth Night” will be presented with splashes of the old and the new by top-notch touring company Aquila Theatre.
“They are probably the best-known and considered the highest quality touring theatre company that does Shakespeare in the country,” Rebecca Sundet-Schoenwald, managing director for the arts series, said. “They’re really good at what they do.”
Born in 1991 and based out of New York since 1999, Aquila Theatre brings Shakespeare and ancient Greek theatre classics to 70 stages a year. A mixture of British and American actors presents the shows chosen for their national tours. Covering the country like they do has led to many accolades and much acclaim, especially for the contemporary edges they sharpen these ancient shows with.
Seeking to reenergize these Shakespearian and Greek classics with the same life that the plays debuted with centuries ago, Aquila Theatre aims to take the fear out of experiencing the ancient works in a contemporary world. Their mission—to bring the greatest works to the greatest number—is epitomized in every performance by what they do.
“There aren’t a lot of theatre companies that tour, and this one is really good at what they do,” Sundet-Schoenwald said, “and Shakespeare isn’t presented that much around here so I thought it would be good, especially the way that they produce it.”
Besides breathing new life into the classic comedy “Twelfth Night,” Aquila Theatre also focuses on audience comprehension of the script. Their fresh approach to this old material makes their rendition all the more singular.
“A lot of times people complain that they can’t understand what is being said,” Sundet-Schoenwald said. “They are using the actual play, they’re not changing what Shakespeare wrote but they are so good at the annunciation and at demonstrating what’s being said. They’re very physical and it’s just a lot of fun.”
Currently, Aquila Theatre is touring “Twelfth Night” and “Fahrenheit 451,” and hitting cities in almost every state from Missouri to Virginia, Florida to New Mexico, and Colorado to California.
“They always have two shows that they tour, very different things so that presenters can choose,” Sundet-Schoenwald said.
The troupe’s stop at MSUM’s Hansen Theatre comes after a series of shows in Michigan and a stop at St. Joseph, Minnesota, the only other Minnesota stop on the schedule until Morris, Minnesota in February 2014.
For people who have seen a Shakespeare before and walked out scratching their head, Aquila Theatre’s “Twelfth Night” is worth giving the Bard of Avon another chance. A troupe with a track record like Aquila Theatre’s can be counted on to give audiences the best of the best.
“If people have been to a play by Shakespeare and thought ‘Wow, this is way too hard’—and some people do—they should give it another try and come to this,” Sundet-Schoenwald said. “Even if you’re not a Shakespeare fan you’re going to have a good time at this because they’re really good at making it fun and funny and visually entertaining.”
“Twelfth Night” is presented by Aquila Theatre on Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. at MSUM’s Hansen Theatre as part of the Cheryl Nelson Lossett Performing Arts Series. Tickets are $28 for adults, $24 for seniors and MSUM alum/staff, and $12 for students. Tickets are available by phone at (218) 477-2271 or at the box office 90 minutes prior to the show.