Eastern Mennonite University’s fall 2014 production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” was such a rousing hit that the play, which has been called the “Moulin Rouge version,” has been adapted for a metropolitan theatre festival.
“Twelfth Night: A Musical Remix” will be performed by a troupe of actors from Eastern Mennonite University and Wanderlust Theatre Company at the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington D.C. Performances will be July 9, 18, 21, 23 and 25 at the Trinidad Theatre.
The production is visually and kinetically dynamic, with music, choreography, make-up and costumes inspired by carnivals and underwater dance. It has been adapted, directed and produced by Assistant Professor of Theater Justin Poole, with an original score composed by James E. (Jim) Clemens.
“This is an opportunity to showcase our work and our student actors to an international audience in a major metropolitan area and important cultural center,” Poole said.
The Capital Fringe Festival takes place over 18 days in July with over 140 productions, roughly 800 individual performances, showcasing 5,000 artists. Organizers encourage potential performers to “express their talents and to develop their artistic freedom without any curatorial barriers,” according to the website.
“This is a massive international festival,” Poole said, “and the fact that it’s unjuried encourages innovation and creativity. Anyone can come and perform, but at the same time, it’s a place where well-known professionals can be innovative, venture into new art forms, experiment and take risks.”
While the original production was technically ambitious, with swings and a rotating piano, Poole says the “remix” has been condensed and simplified to meet festival requirements. Despite what he calls “trimming the fat” – from three hours to 70 minutes and from 11 actors to six – the most compelling features are intact, including the makeup, costumes and original musical score, sung by the actors and accompanied by Clemens on piano and EMU sophomore Jacinda Stahly on violin.
“This production enables us to tell the same sweeping story while relying more heavily on the essential components of any theatrical production: the actors’ voices, bodies and imaginations,” Poole said.
The cast, comprised of students, alumni, and former students, includes MaKayla Baker, Holly Hanks, Clara Bush and Shannon Dove. Belen Fernandez is the make-up artist. Rachelle Kratz is assistant director and stage manager. Costumes are created by Ama Ansah, based on the original designs of Holly Labbe.
The cast also includes actors from Wanderlust Theatre Company, co-founded by Poole and his wife, Amanda. The company specializes in experimental productions of classical works and the development of original performances inspired by border crossings and cultural issues.
Performance Dates and Times
Thursday, July 9 at 6 p.m.
Saturday, July 18 at noon
Tuesday, July 21 at 9:45 p.m.
Thursday, July 23 at 6 p.m.
Saturday, July 25 at 8:15 p.m.
All performances are Trinidad Theatre. For venue information, directions and tickets to the Capital Fringe Festival, visit www.capitalfringe.org or call (866) 811-4111.
Editor’s Note: On July 26, DCMetroTheaterArts honored “Twelfth Night” with recognition for Favorite Musical, Favorite Ensemble and Favorite Overall Show. Additionally, three actors were among those honored as Favorite Performers: Holly Hanks, Sean Byrne and Shannon Dove.