"Twelfth Night" at Marjorie Lyons Playhouse opens tonight

SHREVEPORT, LA — Director Logan Sledge is bringing Shakespeare to the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse stage this month. A cast of Centenary students, along with special guest John Bogan, will tackle the comedy Twelfth Night at MLP in performances Thursday, September 28 through Sunday, October 1.

This irresistible romantic comedy brings to life Illyria, a topsy-turvy place where nothing is what it seems. Viola loves Orsino, who thinks he loves Olivia. Olivia thinks she loves Cesario, who is really Viola, dressed as a man. Malvolio thinks he is a gentleman, but he is not. The foolish and foppish Sir Andrew thinks he is a fine match for the Lady Olivia, but he is far from it. There is disguise and impersonation at every turn, and even the language is turned upside down. Nobody really knows who they are or what they want.

Twelfth Night deals with what most of Shakespeare’s plays deal with, namely, identity crisis,” explains Sledge. “The characters repeatedly ask the audience for help during these crises of identity. They confide in the audience. They ‘unclasp the book’ of their ‘secret soul’ to the audience, to paraphrase Orsino’s line.”

Sledge’s understanding of the significance of the relationship between the characters and the audience is central to his approach to staging Twelfth Night at Centenary.

“These characters lay bare before the audience, naked in all their imperfections, just trying to figure it all out. Not a jot of this should be concealed from the audience through some well-meaning attempt to modernize the play, or to provide context,” says Sledge. “It seems to me that the more effort that is made to modernize Shakespeare’s plays in an attempt to bring us closer to them, indeed the farther and farther away from us they get. In our Twelfth Night, we will make a valiant effort to unmask this play by never placing on the mask, and to share it openly and authentically with the audience.”

Centenary student Tessa Anderson plays Olivia in the MLP production of Twelfth Night and has enjoyed the challenge that it presents.

“The truth is, every actor loves doing Shakespeare – the language! The poetry!” says Anderson. “When you take on the words of our language’s greatest playwright, it tests your mettle. I hope folks will come enjoy the hard work we’ve put into bringing this script to life.”

All performances of Twelfth Night will be held at Centenary’s Marjorie Lyons Playhouse at 2700 Woodlawn Avenue. The run includes 7:30pm performances September 28 through 30 and a 2:00 p.m. matinee on October 1.

General admission tickets are $15, senior and military tickets are $10, and elementary and high school student tickets are free. Centenary students also get in free with a student ID. All tickets are available by calling the MLP Box Office at 318.869.5242 or visiting centenary.edu/mlptickets.

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