“If music be the food of love, play on . . .” This well-known line opens William Shakespeare’s mellow comedy Twelfth Night, now fully cast, for The Waterworks Players’ first production of 2022-23. The speaker is the Duke Orsino, ruler of Illyria: a misty, magical setting that features shipwreck; separated twins; disguise and intrigue; a would-be upwardly mobile servant; an unruly, raucous household; and, as that opening line suggests, the quest for love—love of all sorts.
But Orsino has a problem. He is smitten with the Countess Olivia, who, grieving the recent deaths of both father and brother, has “abjured the company and sight of men.”
Olivia’s household, however, is as lively as it is varied: there are her kinsman, Sir Toby Belch, and his frequent drinking companion Sir Andrew Aguecheek; Maria, her sharp-tongued waiting-gentlewoman; Feste, her equally witty—and philosophical—jester; Fabian, a youthful trickster; and the morosely ambitious Malvolio, her steward, who will get his comic comeuppance.
There are two newcomers who have literally washed into Illyria: the twins Viola and Sebastian, who have been separated by shipwreck and who fear their brother/sister drowned. They are mentored and befriended by two sea captains: the nameless captain of the wrecked vessel, who promises not to reveal Viola’s identity when she decides to disguise herself as a young boy to seek employment—and possibly more—in Orsino’s court; and Antonio, who follows Sebastian, whom he “adores,” to Illyria despite having “many enemies” there.
Twelfth Night’s cast is a blending of old and new faces. Among Waterworks veterans are Christy Moore (Maria); Don Blaheta (Sir Andrew); Leigh Lunsford (Malvolio); Anna Stinson (Orsino); and, returning to the Waterworks stage after an eight-year absence, Jay Lynn (Sir Toby).
There are also several “newbies” making their Waterworks debut: James Shepherd (Feste); Melissa Meinhard (Olivia); Sarah Varela (a servant); and Logan Schock (Fabian). Though he previously appeared in Repunzel (a panto) some time back, Twelfth Night is his first full-length, “adult” theatrical experience.
Rounding out the cast are two Waterworks “some timers” in dual roles: Erik Varela (Curio/an Officer); and Craig Challender (Captain/Antonio).
Jordan Whiley is Twelfth Night’s director. His Creative Team includes: Billy Tucker, Scenic Designer; LeeAnn Schock and Jennifer Newcomb, Costume Designers; Caitlin Linkins, Production Manager; and Sarah Varela, Properties Manager.
Performances of Twelfth Night will be at 8 p.m. on October 14, 15, 21 and 22, with a 2 p.m. matinee on October 16. Tickets are $12, and can be ordered online at waterworksplayers.org/buytickets or by phone at (434) 392-3452.