BY PEYTON POPP – STAFF WRITER
Odds are you’ve heard of Shakespeare. He is a rather famous Elizabethan poet and playwright, and people generally associate his work with thee’s and thou’s and poofy pants with tights underneath. But if you go to Centre’s production of Twelfth Night, you won’t see a typical performance.
The comedy involves cross-dressing, miscommunication, and mistaken identity. When Viola and her twin brother Sebastian are shipwrecked, the play hits the ground running with baffling love triangles and Shakespeare’s notorious word-play and wit.
Twelfth Night is Professor Jennifer Goff’s directorial debut as a drama professor at Centre College. Directing a play as well known as Shakespeare’s seems stressful, but Goff has had a semester to adjust to teaching and working here at Centre, and is excited about this performance.
“The play will get a little extra attention, and people will have opinions,” Dr. Goff said, but this, for her and the cast, is “fun because people will come.”
As for the expectations viewers have about Shakespeare’s plays, this is no ordinary production. This year’s production will be set among the cast of a 1920s Vaudeville troop. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Vaudeville was a flamboyant, exciting form of theatrical entertainment, and Dr. Goff hopes that putting Twelfth Night in that setting will “bring the play just a bit closer to us.” “This is not a documentary about Vaudeville,” Dr. Goff said. “We let it serve our story.”
First year George Adams, playing Sebastian, did not participate in a production last semester. “I wanted to get my bearing here at Centre before I took on such a big time commitment,” Adams explained.
Adams is not the only new cast member. “The more experienced members of the cast really made an effort to help everyone in the cast become part of the crew,” Adams said.
Even though the setting has changed, Centre’s production keeps the play’s language. “I really like Shakespeare, but the language can be challenging. It makes you have to think about what is being said before you can deliver it properly,” Adams said.
Junior Katherine Moeykens, who is playing Sebastian’s twin sister Viola, agreed. “Going from a play entirely in prose, like Cloud 9, to Shakespeare is different,” Moeykens said, “but I think the whole cast has done a great job adjusting.”
In addition to learning the intricacies of Shakespeare’s language, the cast had to take a course on how to safely act with a sword. “It was intense, and I don’t even have a serious sword-fighting scene,” Moeykens said. “It was a fun and exciting experience, though.”
Centre’s newest director has not only facilitated the cast’s coming together as a unit, but she has also made herself a positive member of Centre’s community as a whole. “She’s meshed into the campus, not just with us, but with other professors and the campus as a whole,” Moeykens said of Dr. Goff.
“Dr. Goff did a good job of listening to our concerns. She really integrated with the cast,” Adams agreed.
Dr. Goff is happy with the way the cast has worked to put this production together. “This group will only be together doing this specific thing this one time, and I think that’s exciting and special,” Goff said.
Twelfth Night runs from Apr. 18 to Apr. 21 at 8 pm in Weisiger Theater. It is a convocation credit, and is free for Centre students. It will cost five dollars for non-Centre students, and ten dollars for non-students.