During her more than 25-year association with Anne Arundel Community College's Moonlight Troupers, performing arts department Chairwoman Barbara Marder has not witnessed a single Shakespeare production at the college, recalling that A Midsummer Night's Dream was offered about 30 years ago.
From what I observed at last Thursday's rehearsal of Twelfth Night, it is about time the Bard got on the boards. The play looks to receive fine treatment from the drama club cast when it opens April 13 for a brief run at the Pascal Center for Performing Arts.
Theater arts faculty member Rob Berry, who designed several Moonlight Troupers productions, is directing his first AACC production.
"We're doing it to run one hour and 45 minutes," Berry said. "Shakespeare didn't do scene changes, but had another group come on to create the next scene."
Berry displayed a talent for making this work relevant to and fun for his young actors. Soon engaged in good-natured swordplay were Brandon Deitrich as Feste the Clown fencing with Joel Loukus as Sir Toby Belch and Arthur J. Sanchez who plays the role of Sir Andrew Aguecheek. All displayed physical as well as verbal agility as they rehearsed.
Some costumes had been delivered so I shared in the fun of seeing Marder help some leading players transform themselves from campus-casual young adults to 18th-century ladies and gentlemen.
Among them were Amanda Taylor, who plays Viola, a young woman intent on masquerading as Cesario to work in the service of Count Orsino.
One hopes that Adam Christy fits the role of Count Orsino as handsomely as he fit Orsino's costume. Playing the object of Orsino's affection is Katie Jeffries, who donned a black gown and bonnet to become a fetching Olivia.
Twelfth Night's plot centers on Viola, who disguised as male Cesario has a mission to woo Olivia as the trusted aide of Orsino. He, meanwhile, loves Olivia but begins to wonder about his feelings for Cesario, who has drawn the attention of Olivia.
Olivia, however, is in mourning for her father and brother and is trying to repel all male advances.
The play is filled with merriment and mistaken identities, masquerades and friendships, and like all of the Bard's works, it contains philosophical lessons buried in the multiple layers of wit.
Here we find such immortal lines as, "Be not afraid of greatness, some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."
Presumably, the cast and crew will have greatness thrust upon them when they open in Twelfth Night.
Performances will begin at 8 p.m. April 13, 14, 20 and 21; 2 p.m. April 15 and 22; and 7:30 p.m. April 19. Tickets cost $12 for general admission, $10 for senior citizens, students and groups and $6 for AACC students. To order: 410-777-2457.