Schuster Theatre opens with Shakespeare comedy



In his time William Shakespeare wrote 37 plays. Some of the most popular such as “Romeo and Juliet” and “Hamlet” were full of drama and tragedy, but others were lighthearted and were full of humor and romance.

Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” which  opens at 8 p.m. Thursday at Gannon University’s Schuster Theatre, is a romantic comedy.

The play features Zach Hyman as Duke Orsino, Catie Strout as Valentine, Zak Westfall as Sir Toby Belch, Michael Fujito as Sir Andrew,  Karalyn Headley as Feste, Michael Haas as Malvolio,  Eli Kerr as Antonio,  Chase Miles as Sebastian,  Megan Hamm as Viola/Cesario, Cassie Bielecki as Maria, and Jenna Sulecki as Olivia.

Westfall said “Twelfth Night” is a play of mistaken identity that leads to a lot of hilarious confusion.

“In our modern world it also makes a commentary on gender in the sense that some of our characters may appear one way but are addressed differently,” Westfall said.

Haas said that the set and costume design are brilliantly executed and tie together the historical significance of Shakespeare with contemporary themes.

“The cast is composed of many fresh faces to the Schuster Theatre, and each brings their own unique additions,” Haas said. “Ultimately, “Twelfth Night” at the Schuster Theatre is a wonderful production that’s fitting for the holiday spirit, and plays with the deeper realities of the human condition.

“Cast members wear infinity scarves which are reminiscent of the Elizabethan ruffs that many of the players would wear during Shakespeare’s time. The whole production is seamlessly orchestrated and is a true representation of collaborative arts.”

Though the cast has been working hard to bring a unique take on an old classic, it hasn’t been all work.

Working with each other and learning about themselves was a big part of the rehearsals process for “Twelfth Night”

Sulecki said that her favorite part has been working so closely with Hamm, who plays a girl pretending to be a guy named Cesario.

Sulecki said her character, Olivia, falls in love with Cesario.

“It’s been so much fun to play opposite her and allow our friendship to add some funny intimacies to the play,” Sulecki said “I’m also just super psyched to be a part of another Shakespeare masterpiece.

“I always learn the most about my acting style and how to improve when performing Shakespeare.”

In the 21st century the language Shakespeare used in his plays can be pretty hard to comprehend.

There is no shortage of Shakespearian language in “Twelfth Night,” and cast member Hyman is eager to see how the audience interprets it.

“I’m most excited to see how the audience will understand the words,” Hyman said.

“There’s some stuff in the script that’s really pretty funny but I didn’t get it until I read it over a couple of times.

“I’m curious to see if the audience will pick up on it.”

Performances of “Twetlfh Night” will take place at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. Dec. 10-12.

For tickets and box office information, call 814-871-7494.



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