Every semester, a theater production takes place that is open to all students. One of the productions happening this semester is “Twelfth Night or What You Will,” a comedy written by William Shakespeare.
This stage play features an excited cast that is happy to be performing an iconic work by the famous playwright.
“I want the audience to have a good time, honestly,” Sarah Clifford, a senior theater major said.
“Shakespeare can feel inaccessible at times, and I am really hoping that our audience feels connected and thoroughly enjoy themselves.” Clifford has performed before at Seton Hall in the stage production of “Oklahoma!” and will be playing the role of Countess Olivia this year for “Twelfth Night.”
Clifford described the process of getting to know a Shakespearean character. “Understanding the text is huge when preparing to do Shakespeare, so it’s been a lot of researching terms and making sure that I understand completely what I’m saying,” she said.
This responsibility does not just onto the actors, though, as the other crew members have to prepare for the show as well.
Taji Steele, a junior theatre major, is the stage manager for “Twelfth Night” and explained her role. “I basically prepare for the show by keeping organized. Everything has to be triple checked for accuracy to make sure we don’t mix up schedules or forget materials we’ll need for the show,” she said.
This is Steele’s first time being a stage manager but she has past theater experience. Steele has worked with props and costumes since last semester which has elevated her experience. She is not alone in setting up the production.
Andrew Cates, a junior music, theater and art design major, said, “I’ve been spending a lot of time in the text. Just trying to understand the Shakespeare is very difficult. Beyond that, I am just trying to help the actors also understand the text and the role that they’re playing.” Cates is serving as the assistant director and has previous theater experience too, performing in “Oklahoma!” and “As You Like It,” another Shakespeare play.
While there is certainly excitement to put on another play for the Seton Hall and South Orange community, there are also fears. “I am just a little bit worried about performing my job correctly once we put on the show,” Steele said. However, she also pointed out how wonderful the staff members are, saying, “We have a great production staff and a great cast, and that will surely make my job much easier.”
Clifford related to how theater can be spontaneous but something to get used to. “Live theater unpredictable and literally anything can happen during any given performance, but you just have to roll with the punches and trust your castmates to have your back,” Clifford said.
For now, it’s just rehearsal in the Theater-in-the-Round on campus before the show premiers at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC). The goal for everybody is to get all the actors ready and for the audience to have a good times, as Cates said, “I want the audience members to enjoy themselves.
The message of the show isn’t very heavy or complex, and it is a comedy. I just hope that they come out and have an enjoyable night.”
“Twelfth Night” will be playing Thursday, Oct. 25 and Friday, Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. as well as Sunday, Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. at SOPAC.
Adam Varoqua can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.