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One of William Shakespeare’s most successful comedies is coming to Spanos Theatre on the Cal Poly campus in November.
The Cal Poly theatre & dance department presents Twelfth Night, or What You Will November 3 – 6 and 10 – 12, under the guest direction of Peter Hadres, a seasoned Shakespearean director, actor, and fight choreographer who has spent decades working in Shakespeare festivals and regional theatres all over the country.
According to Hadres, the play’s popularity with audiences is due partially to the fact that it has something for everyone. “There’s music, shipwrecks, romance, mistaken identities, unrequited love, comic relief, and even swordplay,” he says. “It is a tale filled with adventure and intrigue as Viola disguises herself in the foreign country of Illyria, while she mourns the loss of her brother. She falls in love, people fall in love with her, and a variety of machinations with some very foolish characters occur along the way to a mostly happy conclusion.”
Shakespeare set the play in Illyria, a region established around the 10th century and located in the Balkan peninsula. Cal Poly’s production is set in the Balkans during the mid-1800s, primarily with a Greek, as well as Turkish and Croatian influence.
“There is a bit of the exotic in this time and location, and it lends itself easily to the warring on the seas that is referenced in the play,” Hadres says. “We also thought the clothing of Greece during this period, being both beautiful and theatrical, would be creatively challenging for the Cal Poly costume students to work on.”
Tickets are $15-25, and the two-act play is 90 minutes with one 15-minute intermission.