Each spring, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis transforms an area of Forest Park just east of Art Hill into an outdoor Shakespearean theatre and provides St. Louis audiences with an entire evening of activities related to one masterpiece by The Bard. This year’s offering is Twelfth Night.
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis Executive Director Rick Dildine who is also directing this year’s production, commented on why Twelfth Night is his favorite Shakespeare play. “It’s about love ultimately. It’s a love story. And you get to watch all these different shades of love and you get to watch people do a lot of things that we watch with them and say ‘no, no, don’t do it that way.’ But ultimately, these people do find each other in the end. We have a glorious ending. It’s a beautiful play.”
Dildine also explained the background of the ancient holiday of Twelfth Night. “It was the one night of the year – it was meant to be a closing of the big holiday season, the twelfth night after Christmas celebrations and the typical characteristic of it was the flipping of the houses. It was the one night of the year that the servants got to live like the masters and the masters served the servants. So you’ll see some of those characteristics play out in the play. Typical Shakespeare –twins, cross dressing, mistaken identities, love triangles. It’s all there."
Kimiye Corwin plays Viola, the main female role in Shakespeare Festival’s production of Twelfth Night” She commented on what she loves about Shakespeare’s plays. “I love it. I call it the ballet of theater. With ballet, there’s a lot of form and parameters and I feel like the language is balletic. It’s got a rhythm. I don’t know if anyone ever masters it, but once you find some level of mastery, I think there’s a lot of freedom in it.”
For the first time in Shakespeare Festival's 13 year history, the play will be accompanied by live music. Dildine explained how he made that decision. “Music is such a huge part of this show, so I knew I wanted to have a new experience, so I commissioned a local St. Louis band, the Rats and People Motion Picture Orchestra to write all the music for the show. And throughout the process, they kept pushing me, ‘Rick, let’s make it live, let’s make it live,’ so now, all live music.”
Twelfth Night is offered free of charge nightly except Tuesdays, beginning May 24. Although the play itself doesn’t begin until 8:00 p.m., patrons are urged to come early to experience a variety of pre-performance activities. The Green Show begins at 6:30 and features the 20 minute “Quick Delight 12th Night” and a rotating lineup of local entertainers including Death By Tickle: Astounding Feats of Absurdity featuring Juggling Jeff and Oh My Gosh Josh, the Big Muddy Dance Company and St. Louis Osuwa Taiko. There are also backstage tours at 6:30 each night, a variety of roving entertainers and talk backs following each show. A variety of dining options are available including a new communal dining experience featuring a full course meal on Thursdays and Fridays at 6:00 p.m. beginning May 30.
Rick Dildine and Kimiye Corwin were Steve Potter’s guests on Cityscape to discuss this year’s production and related activities.
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis Presents "Twelfth Night"
May 24 - June 16, 2013
8:00 p.m. nightly except Tuesdays
Green Show at 6:30 p.m.
Forest Park's Shakespeare Glen on Fine Arts Drive east of Art Hill
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis Website