Directed and Adapted by Alex Burkart
Los Angeles New Court Theatre
I entered the world of bohemia with Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, which served as the opener of Los Angeles New Court Theatre’s second season. My adaptation, which weeded the play down to thirteen core actors, moved at an incredibly brisk pace while communicating the classic text effectively and entertainingly.
Due to the natural poetic and artistic beauty of the piece, my Twelfth Night quickly became an ode to artists. The tight ensemble transformed into a band of bohemians springing forth from the droplets of a Van Gogh inspired brush: supported with a beautiful rendition of Starry Night splattered across the set. The space was used often by the actors as a place to do what artists do best: create great spectacle from the simplest of materials. Umbrellas and yard sticks in this world became shields and swords; chicken wire became a prison; and a simple sheet became the waves that washed Viola upon the shore. The play celebrated the pure creation of love and imagination; something that bohemia is well known for displaying.
The songs of Feste, in this adaptation, were performed with folk influenced arrangements for ukulele and guitar. Portrayed by a woman, Feste became more than a clown, but a beautiful henna tattooed siren tempting us all to tell story through art and song. Feste in this adaptation became the core of the show, functioning as multiple roles, to finally be revealed in her ending song “When That I Was A Little Tiny Boy” as the chief storyteller for the play.
William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night enjoyed a successful run generating a five star Goldstar rating from viewers who commented on the overall talent of the ensemble.