Over the next several weeks, I will be posting about each of the plays in our upcoming summer season. We’ll begin with the opening production—Tweflth Night
. AST’s 2012 season was put together with the theme of journey in mind. I suppose I had that theme on the brain after having just taken a journey myself—a journey that brought me back to my home state of Arkansas after fifteen years of being away. So it is fitting to begin my inaugural season at AST with the journey of the twins Viola and Sebastian in Twelfth Night
Like me, they ventured out into the world far from home. They are separated from each other by a storm at sea, and Viola is washed ashore on the unknown island of Illyria. Distraught over her loss and not sure how to take care of herself in this new world, Viola disguises herself as a boy (who looks a lot like Sebastian) to survive. Of course, romantic and comic hijinks ensue, but what captivates me about this story is watching the lost twins make their way back to one another. Their reunion at the end of the play catches my breath and brings tears to my eyes every time. They have each gone out on their own, had adventures, gotten involved in sword fights, and fallen in love, but when they find each other again, they find home.
Twelfth Night is one of my all time favorites of Shakespeare’s works, and coincidentally, the first Shakespeare play with which I was ever involved; I stage managed it for the Shakespeare Festival of Arkansas back in the late 90s. It is thrilling for me to be able to direct such a hilarious and heart wrenching play here in Arkansas. My journey has brought me home.