“[Incoherent babble] …Cheerios.”
How do you make Shakespeare relevant to a younger audience? I have watched performances of Twelfth Night where the costumes and language of the 1600’s remain faithful to the history of the playwright. Faithful maybe, but student’s eyes tend to wander during an old-school romcom in which a woman disguises herself as a man in order to be hired by a Duke.
I have seen a production of Romeo and Juliet set in space. A modern idea that was not well thought through. The newest rendition of Twelfth Night, directed by Sean Holmes, has turned the love story into an interactive performance that focuses more on the festivities in-between the search for true love.
Filter Theatre presents an exciting and engaging interpretation of Twelfth Night, but it is a story you had better know before going in. It could’ve easily been mistaken for Twelfth Night the rock musical with the number of instruments on its closed off and dishevelled stage. As much of the action appears off stage as it does on it; forcing the audience to turn their head for characters’ entrances, exits, off stage rants and audience participation.
From the very beginning of this production you are kept on your toes. Starting with Orsino (Harry Jardine) audience sing-a-long, to Viola (Amy Marchant) grabbing clothing from audience members to disguise herself as a boy. The story plays through an interesting delivery of technology, music and audience interaction to bring Shakespeare to a broader audience.
Dan Poole as Sir Toby Belch and Fergus O’Donnell as Malvolio threw caution to the wind, giving performances that stole the show. Despite calling audience members on stage to take shots of tequila and start a conga line; the cast of seven manage to keep their Shakespearian dialect throughout the 90-minute production. The rhetoric is countered with an energy so infectious; it is impossible not to be absorbed into this modern day Shakespearian production. It is a story that indulges in the dramas greatest themes. Essentially, the madness of love.