Monday, November 12, 2012

A Look-Ahead to Twelfth Night presented by APSU Theatre and Dance!

  • So most of this week I'll be house-managing for Twelfth Night which is being presented by the Austin Peay State University (APSU) department of Theatre and Dance. It's opening Wednesday Nov. 14 @7:30 thru Sunday Nov. 18 @2:00. It's in the Trahern Theatre on campus and tickets are on sale at the door or from 3-5 @the Trahern Box Office. It's directed by a close mentor of mine and EVERYONE needs to come out and see it!

    Poster for the show. Graciously borrowed from Darren Michael.

    Austin Peay is my Alma Mater and I could give you a million blog posts saying nice things about them. But who better to give their own opinions about the show than two of the actors themselves! Two of my friends, Andrea Coleman and Anthony Irizarry, were gracious enough to answer some questions about what it's been like working on the show? But first I think some introductions are in order.


    Andrea in the the Beaux Stratagem (right).
    Photo Courtesy of B. Chris Hardin. Taken by Brett Shumaker.

    I first met Andrea when she auditioned for a student show I was directing. Since then she has gone on to act in such shows on the APSU mainstage in The Beaux Stratagem and other shows in the state such as Grease. She's a sweetheart with a sweet smile.


    Anthony in a staged reading of "8". (Middle)
    Courtesy of B. Chris Hardin

    I first met Anthony in his Freshman year when he played Ichabod Crane for an adaptation of Sleepy Hollow that i was the master carpenter on. He's a marketing major at APSU that also enjoys working on stage. He was also involved in the staged-reading of "8" this past summer where he played Paul Katami. He also was an extra in the movie "Runner, Runner" this summer. He's a great guy with a great heart.

    So without any further ado let's get right to what we they have to say...

    Who do you play?

    Anthony: I play Orsino, Duke of Illyria

    Andrea: I play Valentina.

    Can you tell me a little bit about what you like about the character? What are some things that you found interesting about the rehearsal process?

    Anthony: What I like about the character was basically his key defining principle--the fact that he was a hopeless romantic. Honestly, I didn't like the character at first because I found him to be very fickle and even brash in his decisions. But then I realized that in a way, haven't we all at some point behaved in similar ways when we desperately want to win someone's affection? It was at that point that I found myself really empathizing.

    The thing I found most interesting about rehearsals was how everyone always found different ways of interpreting Shakespeare's work. Personally, I have to say that Darren was very helpful in setting the tone and allowing me to experiment and have that sense of freedom of choice. So the character in the end, felt much more sincere.

    Andrea:  I love that my character is slightly devious, but it's all because of unrequited love. My favorite times in rehearsal have been to watch characters develop. I love seeing actors grow and I love when I can see an actor discover something new about his/her character. 

  • Okay, how do you think Austin Peay's production will be different than other productions of the same show?
    Anthony: For one, everyone has fantastic chemistry. No one is dragging their feet to auditions, and we're all having fun out there. Like Darren [The Director] tells us, "If you're having fun with this show, then the audience will have fun." Everyone here has been working hard toward characterization and making good choices. Some, including me, have met with scene partners outside of rehearsals to work at it further. So, we have a lot of professionalism from top to bottom. The end product should reflect that.Andrea: This production is different because well... I'm in it of course. But it's different because its set in the roaring 20s and that puts a whole new flair to the style of the play. Also, large amounts of the play that were not absolutely required to forward the action have been cut. So instead of a 3 hour marathon for the audience, you get an hour and 1/2 energetic sprint. Also, The costumes are lovely. I may be biased because I helped make them, but so be it. 
    If you could tell the audience the one reason why they absolutely need to come out and see this, what would it be?
  • Anthony: Well, this is one of Shakespeare's best comedies, so expect plenty of hilarious moments. And of course, there's always the classic love triangle that everyone loves to see unfold.

    Andrea: The audience needs to see this show because I think everyone needs a good dose of Shakespeare periodically to remind them that life is significantly deeper and more complex than what we go through on a daily basis. Shakespeare reminds you that you are a complicated being, but at the same time makes you feel alive and yet connected to the past. It's a good feeling to leave the theatre feeling like a smarter and more complex human being. Shakespeare has an uncanny ability to challenge you and knock you off your feet, only to hold your hand while you figure out how to stand again.

    Final Thoughts

    This show's going to be awesome! If you want to learn more about the show or more about the Austin Peay Theatre Season just go to their website here. Have any questions from the cast and crew or any requests? Just leave a comment below.


  1. I wonder how Anthony and Andrea prepare for this or any other roles they play.

    1. That's a great question I'll be sure to answer those and any others while i'm working the show with them all week! I'll also try to get some extra behind the scenes info while I'm at it.