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Actors’ Circle Theatre rehearses Twelfth Night for Shakespeare in the Park. Courtesy photo.




Shakespeare in the Park: Twelfth Night 

When: Saturdays, Aug. 5 and Aug. 12, and Sundays, Aug. 6 and Aug. 13, 5 p.m. 
Where: Depot Square Park, 11 School St., Peterborough
Cost: Free 
Visit: actorscircletheatre.org 




Played out
Actors’ Circle Theatre takes Twelfth Night outdoors

08/03/17
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



 If you’ve ever been to a Shakespeare in the Park play, you know that things don’t always go according to plan. 

The outdoor productions of Shakespeare comedies, held each year in Peterborough’s Depot Square Park, have had their share of tweeting birds, rumbling motorcycles, even a monstrous storm (which rolled in, ironically, during a performance of The Tempest). But that’s part of what makes the plays so exciting. 
“Anytime you’re doing a play outdoors, you never know what you’re going to get,” said Mia Moravis, producer and an actor for this year’s play, Twelfth Night. “But we love every bit of it. It’s a great thing. We’re subject to the caprice of Mother Nature, and that can only make an actor better.” 
Performances of Twelfth Night will take place over two weekends, the first of which is on Saturday, Aug. 5. This is the 10th year the Actors’ Circle Theatre’s has presented the series; past plays have included The Taming of the Shrew, The Merry Wives of Windsor, As You Like It, The Tempest, The Two Gentlemen of Verona and others. 
Twelfth Night tells the story of twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. Presuming her brother dead, Viola comes ashore to Illyria disguised as a man named Cesario and begins working for Duke Orsino, with whom she falls in love. An absurd love triangle ensues when the object of Orsino’s affection, Countess Olivia, falls in love with Viola disguised as Cesario.  
“Things get really crazy when Sebastian ends up on the island as well,” Moravis said. “You’ve got quite a bit going on onstage.” 
ACT presented Twelfth Night a number of years ago, but as an indoor, standalone production. Director Chris McCartie, who started work on Shakespeare in the Park with Moravis in 2011, proposed reviving the play as part of this year’s series. 
“We haven’t done this one in the park yet, and it’s a popular play, so we decided that it was time to do it again,” McCartie said. 
All but one of the 14 cast members have performed for Shakespeare in the Park before. Two of them even performed in the previous Twelfth Night production, as the same characters they’ll be playing this year.
“This is a veteran cast,” McCartie said. “There’s a nice chemistry between these people. They’re friends off stage, and they’re comfortable acting together on stage.” 
While some Shakespeare in the Park plays have adopted modern and alternative interpretations, Twelfth Night will adhere to its traditional language, setting and costumes. But Moravis said it will still be very accessible to a modern audience. 
“We [the actors] have been directed very well by Chris to first understand what we’re saying before we usher the words to the audience,” she said. “If you understand what Shakespeare is saying, you can do it with the proper purport and the audience will know what’s going on.” 
In accordance with the play’s traditional approach, the set will be kept minimal and acoustic — no extravagant props, no added lighting, no recorded sound, and musical accompaniment will be performed by live musicians. 
“We’re trying to pare things down for this one,” McCartie said. “We want the focus to be on the story and the acting and want the audience to rely more on their imagination.” 





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