Twelfth Night Extended at Tisbury Amphitheatre
Three nights remain to enjoy laughter, music and Shakespearean shenanigans under the open sky at the Tisbury Amphitheatre, where Twelfth Night has been held over for an extra weekend.
Island audiences — including families with small children — have flocked to the show since it opened nearly a month ago, leading the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse to extend its run through August 12.
One of Shakespeare’s goofiest comedies, Twelfth Night injects a romantic premise — identical boy-and-girl twins, parted by a shipwreck — with copious doses of farce, hatching multiple cases of mistaken identity and love at first sight.
This play also is the source of such often-quoted phrases as “If music be the food of love, play on;” “She sat like patience on a monument;” and “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
There’s plenty of horseplay in Twelfth Night as well, and the playhouse cast — a mix of year-round and seasonal Vineyarders, ranging in age from mid-teens to post-retirement, directed by Katherine Reid — takes full advantage of the comic possibilities.
Without stepping into the intricacies of Shakespeare’s plot, it’s safe to say that most of his characters are startlingly gullible — even those who delight in bamboozling others, like the cabal of dissipated nobles (Augie Padua and Lucy Moore) and spiteful domestics (Samantha Cassidy and Aiden Weiland) who team up to humiliate the punctilious steward Malvolio.
The amphitheatre production also features original music by Brooklyn-based composer Anna Yukovich, who grew up on the Vineyard, performed on stage by Mr. Weiland on violin and guitarist David Mintz as the Fool.
Twelfth Night marks Ms. Reid’s debut as a director after many years of involvement with the playhouse, starting as a child actor. She’s currently the organization’s director of education.
But Ms. Reid has had to leave her director’s chair repeatedly to step into various acting roles as Covid-19 rippled through the cast. For the first weekend of the run, she played the lead role of Olivia until actor Ellie Brelis was able to perform. The following week, Mr. Mintz was out and Ms. Reid — an accomplished singer and musician — took the Fool’s role.
Twins Viola and Sebastian are played by Cordelia Reynolds, a junior acting student at Carnegie Mellon University, and 2019 Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School graduate Jo Orr.
Fifteen-year-old regional high school sophomore Jason Jarrell plays Sebastian’s loyal friend Antonio. Mr. Weiland, who portrays the prankish Fabian, is a rising junior at the school.
Other Islanders in the show include Lagan Love as the determined Duke Orsino and Xavier Powers as the obtuse Malvolio.
Ms. Cassidy and Augie Padua, two more former child actors with the playhouse who have remained active in the performing arts, play the mischievous Maria and perpetually-inebriated Sir Toby Belch.
Several of the cast members appeared in last year’s Shakespeare play at the amphitheatre, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Mr. Padua as Puck, Mr. Powers as Oberon and Mr. Love as carpenter Peter Quince, while Ms. Reid was Bottom the weaver.