Office of University Communications & Marketing

Aquila Theatre Brings Shakespeare’s Riotous Romantic Comedy TWELFTH NIGHT to UNA Stage Feb. 10
Jan. 30, 2014



Aquila's TWELFTH NIGHTBy Terry Pace, Communications and Marketing

FLORENCE, Ala. – The critically acclaimed Aquila Theatre Company sets sail for the mythical world of Illyria – and an adventurous evening of love, lust, laughter and lyrical language – as the University of North Alabama presents the professional theatre company’s latest top-quality touring production.

Aquila’s imaginative traveling ensemble will resurrect the romantic and sensuous stage comedy Twelfth Night (or, What You Will) – one of William Shakespeare’s most endearing and beguiling blends of passion, merriment, intrigue, mistaken identities and cross-dressing gender confusion – for a single performance at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, at Norton Auditorium.

“Because this is a touring production,” noted Dr. Lesley Peterson, an associate professor of English at UNA, “I know I can count on Aquila to use their creativity and skill to turn the limitations they face – the small cast, the need to keep the set fairly simple – into an original and innovative production that will give the audience great entertainment and will give those of us who already love this play new and thought-provoking ways of thinking about it.”

Aquila performs a full-scale Shakespearean production at UNA each spring semester through the sponsorship of the Albert S. Johnston Endowment in the UNA Department of English. The company has previously presented Romeo and Juliet, The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing and other timeless Shakespearean tales for enthusiastic (and intergenerational) campus audiences.

“This is a chance to see Shakespeare’s work come to life through some of the finest actors in the world,” added Melissa Thornton, operations manager in the UNA Office of University Events. “Aquila really knows the material inside and out, and the creativity and originality in their performances make the plays we’ve read – or even seen before – new and exciting. Their performances are enjoyable for any audience.”

Originally created as Candlemas entertainment for the closing night of the Christmas season, Twelfth Night (first performed in 1602) takes place in the mythical world of Illyria. Shakespeare’s bold, irreverent comedy follows the amorous misadventures of a shipwrecked girl who disguises herself as a man in order to be nearer to the handsome count she adores. Chaos and confusion ensue with she finds herself relentlessly pursued by the woman who has captured the count’s heart. The play begins with one of the Bard’s most famous lines, “If music be the food of love, play on …”

Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies, and deservedly so,” noted Peterson, who teaches a UNA English course on Shakespeare’s works. “It's got music, silliness, a mind-boggling plot that manages to work itself out in the end against all odds, cross-dressing, shipwrecks, swordplay, wordplay, infatuation, drunken antics, dirty jokes and a definite dark side. Who could ask for anything more?”

Founded in London in 1991, Aquila has been based in New York since 1999. The company’s stated mission is “to bring the greatest theatrical works to the greatest number.” Their acting troupe presents a regular season of plays in New York, performs at global arts and theatre festivals and presents touring productions across American each year. Twelfth Night includes Shakespeare’s telling line, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

“One might suggest that it is the Aquila Theatre players who have thrust the greatness they have achieved upon the world,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently observed. “With year-round performances in international festivals and across 70 cities in the U.S. and premier educational theatre workshops, Aquila is a stage force to be reckoned with.”

Admission to Twelfth Night is $10 for general admission and $5 for students. Tickets are available in advance at the UNA Bookstore, Pegasus Records, Tapes and CDs and the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts, all in Florence, and at Coldwater Books in Tuscumbia. For more information, call the UNA Office of University Events at 256-765-4658. 

Three high-resolutions photos from Aquila's production of Twelfth Night are available for media use on the UNA Gallery at these links: 
http://www.unalionsden.com/archive/photo.php?id=10218
http://www.unalionsden.com/archive/photo.php?id=10219
http://www.unalionsden.com/archive/photo.php?id=10220