Alexander Kasser Theater’s Peak Performance of “Twelfth Night” on Friday evening was an outstanding production of William Shakespeare’s comedy from the 1600s. Director Mark Hardy invested so much effort in putting together the right cast, crew and musicians to bring this amazing production to life.
The basis of the play is about Viola, a young aristocratic woman who washed up on the coast of Illyria. She disguised herself as a man named Cesario and becomes a servant to Duke Orsino. Orsino grows fond of Cesario, and so does his love interest Olivia. Through a series of romantic and comedic situations, Viola must learn how to survive while living a double life.
It was amazing to see a young woman like Viola go through so many risks while changing her place in society. Her male persona as Cesario is met with anger by Olivia’s uncle, Sir Toby Belch. He tries to get another suitor, Sir Andrew Aguecheek to fight her to win his honor, but neither want to fight. Through the majority of the play, Cesario tries to fend off Olivia’s advances to help Orsino win her over.
Though I do not approve of his excessive drinking, I was glad to see Sir Toby Belch optimistic and ready to have fun, even when others did not.
Starring an excellent ensemble cast, this play was well executed by Montclair State University’s talented young thespians. The actors and actresses accurately portrayed the wealthy and successfully used props while being delivered in an extremely funny way.
This was the funniest Shakespearean production I have ever seen. One of the most memorable moments was when Sir Andrew went through slapstick situations to try to prove his worth to Olivia, which does not work out. The costumes were incredible — they were very stylish and brightly colored for the men and women. It was very amusing to see student James Hooper’s character, Malvolio, dancing around in inappropriate clothing while hysterically laughing in front of Olivia. His performance made a very powerful transition from a straight-laced puritan to a great source of comic relief.
In addition to how funny it was, it was also pleasing to see how this play did not result in anyone’s tragic death.
After the show, Hardy said that the easiest part of producing the play was having fun with the cast. Overall, Montclair State’s production of “Twelfth Night” was a wonderful, comedic experience