Romance, mistaken identity drive 'Twelfth Night' plot

lovelorn actorsLanding off the coast of Italy in the land of Illyria, a shipwrecked set of twins take audiences on an adventure of mistaken identity filled with comedy and romance in the theatre department’s production of “Twelfth Night, or What You Will,” opening Oct. 10 in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre on campus.

Known as one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, “Twelfth Night” follows twins Viola and Sebastian after the shipwreck with each presuming the other dead. As they mourn their losses, each twin discovers love with mates they cannot keep.

“Love sought is good, but giv’n unsought is better,” declares Olivia in her noble pursuit of happiness.

“Characters pursue their object of affection with an irrational drive that constantly throws them into a state of delirium and imbalance,” said director Mark Cole, professor and chair of theatre at SUNY Oswego.

“This of course fuels the comic potential of the plot as the Countess Olivia rebuffs Orsino and falls head over heels in love with Cesario, who is, in reality, Viola, disguised as a young man. Viola, in turn, is aching for Orsino. The result is a madcap mix-up of folly.”

And, as customary in Shakespearean plays, “Twelfth Night” features the mischief and merriment of enough eccentric ensemble characters to keep the folly going.

“Disorder seems to be the natural state for the inhabitants of Illyria,” Cole noted. “The heroine Viola, unprepared to reveal her true self, hides behind the mask of Cesario and in turn causes other characters to be entangled in a hilarious, farcical design of desire and intrigue.”

A special matinee for high schools will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 11. Teachers will receive supporting resources for use in the classroom before and after the field trip.

“Twelfth Night” will preview at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre, with all seats $5.

The production will have 8 p.m. curtains Oct. 10 to 13, with a 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinee Oct. 14. Tickets for regular run cost $12 ($10 for seniors and children, $7 for SUNY Oswego students).

For more information or reservations, contact Tyler box office at 312-2141 or

- END -

PHOTO CAPTION: Love complications—The Shakespearean comedy “Twelfth Night, Or What You Will,” a tale of mistaken identity and love gone awry, will open SUNY Oswego’s theatre season Oct. 10 in Waterman Theatre. Allison Kleber (Countess Olivia, left) and Ryan Santiago (Count Orsino) are part of a bizarre love triangle: Olivia loves Cesario, who is actually the shipwrecked twin Viola disguised as a young man, who herself is smitten with Orsino, while he in turn pines for Olivia. The play will run through Oct. 14.

(Posted: Sep 26, 2007)