The Department of Theatre Arts at the State University of New York at New Paltz kicks off its Mainstage 2010-2011 season with Twelfth Night, Shakespeare’s classic comedy of mistaken identities, bewildering desires, practical jokes, and bawdy revelry.
Twelfth Night will be performed at 8:00 p.m. on October 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, and at 2:00 p.m. on October 10, 16, and 17 on the Parker Theatre stage. Tickets are $16 general reserved seats, $14 reserved senior, SUNY student, faculty, staff. Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office located in the Parker Theatre lobby, Monday – Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., (845) 257-3880, on line at www.newpaltz.edu/theatre, or at the theatre one hour before the performance. Group rates are available.
About the Play
Twelfth Night is a play of opposites. It is a play that seems at first glance, to be a rather typical comedy with many familiar comic devices from other of Shakespeare’s works – twins mistaken for one another and a young woman disguised as a man among others. But, it also has a dark side. Frank Trezza, director for Twelfth Night and associate professor in Theatre Arts at New Paltz comments that, “The play is also a comedy that has a very dark backdrop. As the play opens, both Olivia and Viola have recently lost their brothers and are in mourning. This backdrop of grief provides a rich texture to the play. Additionally, both music and love are powerful forces in this work. Each of them has the power to transform the characters in the play.”
Lyrical, emotional, bittersweet and hugely funny, the play is a spectacular concoction of cross-dressing and confusion where everyone is in love with the wrong person. Viola loves Orsino who loves Olivia who loves Sebastian and his twin brother Cesario who also happens to be Viola! Sprinkle into this sumptuous stew the ridiculous longings of the self-righteous Malvolio and the jovial interjections of Sir Toby Belch and the fool Feste, and Twelfth Night becomes a romantic misadventure filled with many twists and turns and gender-bending surprises.
About the Director
Frank Trezza has been teaching at New Paltz since August 2001. Previously he was chair of theatre arts at Bradley University. Prior to that time, Trezza had been director of academics at Florida State University. He holds a PhD in theatre studies from Florida State University, an MFA in directing from CUNY Brooklyn College, and a BFA from SUNY Purchase. He has also trained professionally with the legendary Uta Hagen and at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.
Trezza’s professional theatre credentials as an actor and director include work in New York City in film, television, and on the stage. At New Paltz, Trezza has directed Company, Guys and Dolls, King Lear, and The Caucasian Chalk Circle and has appeared as an actor in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Our Town. Trezza is currently the treasurer of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education.
This production of Twelfth Night is a collaboration between the English and Theatre Arts departments. Instructors from English have been teaching the play in various courses this semester, and actors from the production have been bringing scenes from the play into their classrooms. Additionally, several faculty members have been working on the production as consultants and dramaturges, providing information on the history and criticism of the play.
On October 9, 2010 the English department is offering a one-day conference for high school teachers, on the subject of teaching Twelfth Night to high school students. Also in the offering are special matinees for high school students. Information about this special conference can be obtained by calling Conference Services, (845) 257-3033.
The Theatre Arts department is offering special matinees for high school students, and Dean James Schiffer will moderate a pre-show panel about the play on Friday, October 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Parker Theatre.