Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' is coming to Palatine Park

·2 min read

Jul. 15—FAIRMONT — West Virginia's only professional Shakespeare troupe is coming back to Palatine Park for the fourth time.

The Vintage Theatre Company's Rustic Mechanicals will perform "Twelfth Night" on Sunday, July 18 as part of the troupe's "Whirligig of Time Tour."

In the play often described as one of Shakespeare's best comedies, Viola is separated from her twin Sebastian, and she dresses as a boy and works for the Duke Orsino. She then falls in love with Orsino who is in love with the Countess Olivia. So, Orsino and sends Viola to court her for him, but Olivia falls for Viola instead. Sebastian arrives, causing a flood of mistaken identity, and marries Olivia. Viola then reveals she is a girl and marries Orsino.

Shakespeare's works were classically performed in the open air of amphitheater-like stages. A stage like that in Palatine Park works well with the style of performance the Mechanicals like to put on.

"The open air venue lends itself to our style," said Jason Young producer and artistic director for The Vintage Theatre Company. "Our goal is to make Shakespeare accessible and we believe the best way to do that is to produce his shows in the style that they were originally produced."

The open air experience also aids in audience interaction and inclusion, something the Mechanicals hold dear.

"The open air natural light allows the audience to see the actors, the actors to see the audience and the audience to see each other," Young said. "Which means we are all experiencing the play together."

In true Shakespearean form, the Rustic Mechanicals try to emulate the spirit of Shakespeare's time. Creating a space with music, costumes and stories that resonate with the audience of the period in which the performance takes place is what Shakespeare is all about.

"We try to produce our shows the way Shakespeare would have if he were here with us today," Young said. "Costumes are anything we can get our hands on, because that's how he did it. Music is modern to the audience because that's how he did it."

The performance will begin at 7 p.m. at the Palatine Park stage. Admission is free.

Reach David Kirk at 304-367-2522 or by email at dkirk@timeswv.com.

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