It's romance on the runway in “Twelfth Night”

The splashy spring show at Trinity Western University’s SAMC Theatre is none other than Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Set in the 1950s, in the opulent world of Paris-inspired fashion, this is romantic comedy at its fanciest.

The fun begins when Viola dresses as a man to get near the handsome, reclusive icon behind the Di’Orsino fashion label. Meanwhile, he’s pining after a glamourous rival designer, who is completely fooled by Viola’s disguise and ends up falling for her! While the clueless lovers are chasing each other without much success, their admin staff look for any excuse to slack off at work…resulting in wild parties, ridiculous pranks, and absurd matchmaking schemes.

Director and theatre professor Kate Muchmore Woo calls it “the love triangle to crown all love triangles,” promising all the raucous comedy that mistaken-identity stories are known for. She has given the production a modern makeover, not just in its setting but in some of the language, making it accessible for younger audiences as well as those less familiar with Shakespeare.

Langley-born Kate Nundal, who plays a tough tomboy with a secret crush on her best guy friend, adds that the contemporary resonances run deeper. “Underneath the witty jokes and slapstick comedy, there’s a lot of simmering cynicism over issues that are still relevant today,” she says. “I really appreciate how the literary genius of Shakespeare, in the hands of a smart director, can make you laugh but also inspire you with a lot to think about.”

Nundal will join her onstage sidekick Keenan Marchand, a talented graduate of Brookswood Secondary, for a special Q&A with high school students after the April 6 performance. The event includes pizza, admission to the show, and a post-show talkback for only $10. For info about this high school special, email theatre@twu.ca.

The play features the talents of Graham Boldt, Charlotte Elgersma, James Faley, Jenessa Galbraith, Emmett Hanly, Emily Herbison, Corben James, Hayley James, Paul Kobilke, Keenan Marchand, Kate Nundal, Steven Simpson, Mikayla Wust, and Shelby Wyminga. Lighting design is by TWU graduate Lora-Lynne Frewing with costume and set design by the award-winning Christopher David Gauthier.

Twelfth Night runs from March 29 to April 9 at TWU’s School of the Arts, Media + Culture (SAMC), Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30pm with Saturday matinees at 2pm. For tickets and information, visit www.twu.ca/theatre or call 604.513.2188.

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