Indie theatre outfit Virginia Plain open their 2021 season with a fresh take on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
Viola is shipwrecked in a strange land and, believing her brother to be dead, she dresses as a boy and goes to work for the lovesick Orsino.
Orsino sends her to woo Olivia, setting into motion a whirlwind of mistaken identity, unrequited love and elaborate pranks.
In Illyria music is the food of love, and anything is possible.
In fact, in this production almost anything is possible, with 12 actors – each having learned two roles – tossing a coin at the start of the performance to determine their parts. With 12 actors there are 64 casting combinations, so no two nights will ever be the same.
“It’s still Twelfth Night, with all its lovers, shipwrecks, fools, puritans and rings,” says director Victor Kalka, “but it’s also an experiment that riffs on the play’s themes of sexuality, identity, doubling and fate.”
Twelfth Night feels like the perfect play to present at the start of 2021 says Kalka. “It’s about a group of characters working through loss and isolation. For a while they lose all sense of perspective and madness and mayhem bubbles to the surface, but in the end they find their way through.”