Twelfth Night


Hartford Stage

Hartford, CT

May - June 2013

Director: Darko Tresnjak

Playwright: William Shakespeare

Set Design: Alexander Dodge

Costume Design: Linda Cho

Lighting Design: Matthew Richards

Sound Design: David Budries

Stage Manager: Mary K. Klinger

With: Che Ayende, McKinley Belcher III, Josh Boscarino, Lea Coco, Michael Spencer Davis, Kate MacCluggage, William Macke, Gregor Paslawsky, Joe Paulik, Jennifer Regan, Bruce Turk, and Stacey Yen

Random review


It’s common for productions of Twelfth Night to be set in the hedonistic 1920s, a time of jazz age opulence with the memories of a major global war behind, while careening towards a global depression.

The death of a brother (and father) weigh heavily on one of the comedy’s protagonists, Olivia; and the death of as some scholars surmise the death of Shakespeare’s son, Hamnet, must have weighed heavily on the bard, a few years before Twelfth Night was written. Hamnet was a fraternal twin to Shakespeare’s daughter, Judith, as TN’s Viola and Sebastian are as well -- and both suspect the other perished.

But for all the mourning, there is frivolity and love at the center of the play, and acts as a release from the shroud of death for these would-be lovers.

And that frivolity and love was at the center of Darko’s idea for this Twelfth Night. Alexander Dodge’s wonderful hedge maze set (designed with the Malvolio letter scene in mind) lent itself to lounging, prat falls, and hiding; and Linda Cho’s beautiful costumes fashioned after the Erte movement displayed that hedonism of the luxury classes.

As Andrew Aguecheek, I especially reaped the benefits of Linda’s designs, sporting a new costume for every entrance: Tennis whites, blue footed pajamas, 1920s golfing outfit with pom-pom hat, a traveling cloak, and white fencing outfit -- all of these with the my “AA” monogram stitched in. And not to mention, of course, my lovely blond wig, which Sir Toby Belch remarks, “hangs like flax on a distaff.”

I extend my hand to Maria (Jennifer Regan) as Sir Toby (Michael Spencer Davis) looks on.

Sir Toby, Andrew, and Feste (Che Ayende) sing boisterously and drunkenly in the dead of night.

The faux duel between two poor competitors - Andrew and Viola, disguised as Cesario (Kate MacCluggage)

And in what must have been a nod to my, um, courageous prat falls into the moats around the hedges, the Connecticut Critics Circle awarded me with a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.