Twelfth Night Never Grows Old

It seems like I've seen countless versions of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night over the years -- by the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival at Boscobel, by the Pearl Theater Company, by Portchester's Lawn Chair Theater at Lyon Park, as a musical version called Illyria by Prospect Theater, and many more.  Each production managed to interpret the Bard's beloved comedy in a new way, adding its own stamp to the classic, proving that the tale still has legs (yellow, cross-gartered, or otherwise) all these centuries later. On Friday night, I saw yet another version, this one by Red Monkey Theater Group. Even when I think that nothing new can be added to the familiar story, I'm proven wrong.  The cast and crew presented a delightful evening of theater, nicely utilizing the exquisite space at the ArtsExchange Main Gallery of White Plains, New York.

The contemporary staging by director Tal Aviezer and the original music composed and performed by Lauren Anker helped make the old material fresh and accessible.  The cast was superb: Keri Seymour, Sean M. Grady, Lawrence J. Reina, Ed Friedman, Brian Leider, Lisa Spielman, David Ryan, Kevin Thompson, Caitlin Zvoleff, Dylan O'Brien, and Tal Aviezer.

The press release describes the production this way: "Shakespeare’s last comedy, while frequently hilarious, also carries with it the desperate lingering and bittersweet atmosphere of a grand celebration winding down. It is a fitting farewell to the holiday season, as a cast of unforgettable characters indulge in a final big blowout before examining themselves in the cool gray light of day."

The show already performed at St. Paul's Church Historic Site at Mt. Vernon and Larchmont Temple at Larchmont, New York.  There will be one more performance next Friday, January 21, 2011, at Rochambeau  School in White Plains.  Catch it if you can.  For more details, visit http://www.redmonkeytheater.org

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