Our third Meetup of the year was a roaring success! Cal Shakes’ gender-bending production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night helmed by Michelle Hensley was nothing short of inspired, who says “the madness of love and desire, the loss of reason and the lengths to which you’ll go with it” is what attracted her to the play. Her theater company, Ten Thousand Things (TTT) specializes in bringing high-quality theater productions to homeless shelters, prisons, and other community settings for free, as well as to more traditional performance spaces.
Karen D’Souza of San Jose Mercury News comes away very impressed by the lack of “campy” in this all-female production: “Hensley’s bare-bones approach pays off most handsomely in its embrace of single-sex casting. Much is made of productions that feature only male actors, as was the fashion in Elizabethan England. But there is often something campy about such gender-bending. Here the female cast plays all the parts without a hint of vaudeville, and very soon one forgets that there is anything unusual about the identity politics at work.”
Chad Jones of SFGate pays rich kudos to the decision to go all-female, which he says takes nothing away from the production quality: “But theatrical gender equality aside, Hensley’s “Twelfth Night,” a co-production of the California Shakespeare Theater and Intersection for the Arts, is so robust and satisfying that the characters end up mattering more than the sex of the actor under the costumes.
“And there’s one of the primary joys of “Twelfth Night,” especially in this unadorned but still beautifully detailed production: in the end, disguises are abandoned, the damaged are repaired and there’s a happy ending on a wonderfully human scale.”
Do share your thoughts if you were part of the Meetup (or not!)
Olivia – Maria Candelaria*
Malvolio/Valentine – Nancy Carlin*
Toby Belch – Catherine Castellanos*
Andrew Aguecheek – Patty Gallagher*
Viola/Sebastian – Cindy Im*
Orsino/Maria – Rami Margron*
Feste/Antonio – Sarita Ocón*
Director – Michelle Hensley
Composer – Peter Vitale
Music – Olive Mitra
Costumes – Naomi Arnst, based on original designs by Sonya Berlovitz
Set Design – Erica Zaffarano
Props – Brittany White
Fight Choreography – Dave Maier
Stage Manager – Amanda Krieger*
Production Assistant – Whitney Krause
*Denotes member of Actor’s Equity.