productions / seasons / 2023 - 2024 / Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night

William Shakespeare
costume design:
scene design:
photo credit:
Daniel Kontz

Tickets: $5 w/ Penn ID, $10 General, free on Thursday 11/16

Shipwrecked and separated from her twin brother, Viola finds herself stranded on the shores of Illyria. She disguises herself as a man, and, calling herself Cesario, enters the service of Duke Orsino, who has fallen hard for Olivia. Olivia falls for Cesario. Viola falls for the duke. And a band of ragtag, rowdy misfits and musicians make all kinds of mischief. How will this fadge? That is a knot for time (and Shakespeare!) to untie. One of Shakespeare’s most delightful comedies, Twelfth Night ebulliently captures the desire for joy, connection and reinvention that comes after we wash ashore following our darkest days.

Thursday, November 16th at 7pm*
Friday, November 17th at 7pm
Saturday, November 18th at 7pm
Sunday, November 19th at 2pm


Sir Toby / Captain: Walker Carnathan
Fabian / Lead Musician: Armie Chardiet
Curio / Priest: Ahaan Chhatwal
Valentine / Antonio: Rebekah Lyn Donnell
Sebastian: Lilly Friedman
Malvolio: Ryan Ghose
Feste: Ryan Kim
Orsino: Eric Lieberman
Maria: Em Maiorano
Olivia: Pandora Schoen
Viola: Emily Wallace
Sir Andrew: Yuting Zhu 


Lead Guitar: Martin Salen
Rhythm Guitar 1: Michael Saralegui
Rhythm Guitar 2: Kamira Payne
Bass: William Stewart
Violin: Nora Youn
Piano: Sage Eanet 

Artistic and Production Staff

Director: Jennifer Thompson
Production Manager, Technical Director, and Set Designer: Cat Johnson
Dramaturg: Ahaan Chhatwal
Costume Designer: Millie Hiibel
Lighting Designer and Electrician: Juliet Dempsey
Sound Design and Tech: David O’Connor
Stage Manager: Jordyn Harris
Assistant Director: Jo Howard
Assistant Stage Manager: Andi Cui
Assistant Stage Manager: Ananya Singhai
Intimacy Choreographer: Bess Rowen
Poster Design: Maria Shaplin
Publicity: Noah Levine
Publicity Captain: Ryan Ghose
Props Head: Lauren Cho
Music Director: Armie Chardiet
Program Design: Kevin Chun

Production Crew

Scenic Build and Props: Youfei Fan, Sarah Curry, and Rachel Eichman

Director’s Note

Finding Joy on the French Riviera

One of the reasons we selected Twelfth Night this semester is because it is a play about coming out of mourning. Viola and Olivia—our almost-anagram-ed heroines—begin the play having both lost their brothers. These losses weigh on their souls, yet the rest of the world wishes to move on (or pretend nothing has changed). For Viola and Olivia, much of the play is about finding joy and connection at a moment when all of that seems irreparably lost. This is, in some ways, parallel to the theatre’s task coming out of pandemic lockdowns. After a seemingly endless period in which the gathering-together crucial to theatre’s existence was impossible, how would theatre find its life again? By setting the play in the French Riviera in the decadent 20s, I hoped we could search for this aliveness in a wild and playful rehearsal process. As will be apparent in what you see onstage, this cast fully delivered on the joy.  

But as we’ve discovered through our work, this is also a play about recognition. Not only the crucial recognition of the siblings, Sebastian and Viola, upon which the play hinges, but the recognition of humanity in and by each of the characters. Orsino, at first, loves only himself-in-love, misrecognizing his objects of affection, to Olivia’s great consternation. Toby and Maria do not recognize their love for each other. The gender-bending of the play’s conceit allows many of the characters to recognize a deeper complexity in their own relationship to gender and experience non-normative ways of loving that prove essential to their ability to really love and find human connection. Finally, nobody recognizes the deep humanity in Malvolio. It is only through recognition—of ourselves and of others—that the play can find its resolution. 

But Shakespeare’s plays cannot be simplified or reduced, and there are many more nuances, themes, and stories you will find and bring to our gathering in this space tonight. There is also stunning original music and plenty of cheap gags. And I hope you will recognize (and how could you not?) that every member of this company has brought their empathic, ebullient, silly, strange, and capacious hearts to their work on this production. From the incredible actors and musicians to everyone who has worked tirelessly behind the scenes: it is their humanity onstage before you. What a joy to share that with you. 

Jennifer Joan Thompson, Director