GCCC to put on encore of 'Twelfth Night'





Due to some impressive feedback, two encore performances of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" are being put on by Garden City Community College drama students this weekend.

"Based on the response we had from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, we felt that there was more we could get more out of this production," GCCC Drama Instructor Phil Hoke said. "We felt like there was more we could do, so we want to be able to explore that."

Because the play is what Hoke refers to as "improv-driven," he said the actors felt they could bring even more to their respective characters.

"These were their ideas that we just perfected and experimented with and just played with to be able to create everything that was up here," he said.

Hoke described the play as a comedy of errors that begins with twins being separated by a shipwreck and each, subsequently, believing the other is dead.

"One's a boy and one's a girl, so the girl, to protect herself in a strange land, disguises herself as a boy and decides to be a servant to the duke of that particular area," he said.

The twin girl's name is Viola, who, as a boy goes by Cesario and is played by Tori Fairbank.

"The duke is madly in love with Countess Olivia, so he sends Viola, who is now Cesario, to court Olivia on his behalf. (The countess) wants nothing to do with (the duke), but finds herself suddenly falling in love with Cesario ... and of course, (Cesario) is a she," Hoke said.

While Viola/Cesario fights off the countess' advances, she finds herself falling for her master.

"So it becomes this strange love hexagon," Hoke said. "In the end, the right guy finds the right girl, the right girl finds the right guy, brother and sister are reunited and live happily ever after. It is a comedic play, but it has some really nice things to say about love."

In addition to gender reversal, there is also a drunk, played by Justin Godwin.

"He's devious; he's a drunk," Godwin said, describing his character Toby Belch.

In one scene, Godwin's character stumbles onto the stage and relieves himself on a tree, as he fights to maintain a standing position. In that scene, one of his lines is, "These clothes are good enough to drink in. So be these boots, too, and maybe not — let them hang themselves by their own straps."

The cast and crew updated the play to take on a 1960s feel.

"There are songs in it, like one of the songs goes to the tune 'Pretty Woman,' another one goes to 'Fool on the Hill.' Another one goes to 'Pussy Willows, Cat-tails and Roses,' by Gordon Lightfoot, and then throughout the show, we bring in 1960s and 1970s music," Hoke said.

The performance received impressive feedback from Roger Moon, theater professor at Southwestern College, who responded on behalf of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, by congratulating the cast and crew on creating an authentic portrayal of the play, and on the internal integrity maintained to both the production concept and modern approaches to Shakespeare.

Cast and crew members, under the direction of Hoke, are Tyler Allen, Krisha Baker, Bradley Cunningham, Fairbank, Ally Guerrero, Noah McCallum, Paige McKinley and Alex Wilken, all of Garden City; Linzie Schneider, Holcomb; Godwin, Liberal; and Robin Dassy of Ellsworth and Belgium.

Some of the cast and crew members were also nominated for their work on "Twelfth Night." Godwin and Fairbank are nominees for the Irene Ryan 2014 KCACTF Region Festival; Alex Wilken and Noah McCallum for set design; and Linzie Schneider, Fairbank and Godwin are nominees for costume design.

The encore performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the auditorium of the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Building at GCCC.

Admission is $8 for general admission and $5 for students or senior citizens. Tickets are available at the box office one hour before each show. The play employs adult humor and is rated a strong PG-13, according to Hoke.

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