Twelfth Night

Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre is presenting "Twelfth Night" at Jack Townshend Point, opening Friday. 

There is a lot of Shakespeare happening at Jack Townshend Point.

The outdoor theater on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks is playing host to two Shakespeare plays, both running concurrently and brought to the stage by Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre. “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged!)” opened last weekend. This weekend, “Twelfth Night” opens. The two shows will rotate performances sharing the same stage, with “Complete Works” ending its run on Aug. 1 and “Twelfth Night” closing on Aug. 8.

“It’s pretty crazy,” Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre Managing Director Tom Robenolt said of balancing two productions on the same stage and rotating in casts. “The ‘Complete Works’ is a small cast, it’s three people, and then ‘Twelfth Night’ is about 12 to 14 people, so it’s a big learning curve for me. It’s something I want to start doing with the theater because we have this outdoor theater that’s only used for a certain amount of time, and why not see if we can offer two shows in a summer?”

The theater normally hosts a large outdoor production every summer at Jack Townshend Point. Like so many theaters, the pandemic shut down productions in 2020. The addition of a second summer production is to help make up for a loss of a show last year. Two shows per summer is also something Robenolt is considering as a permanent addition going forward. 

The biggest “if” for the theater was the constrained time frame for rehearsals. The university gave the go-ahead for the plays about four weeks ago, and Robenolt leapt into rehearsals for “Twelfth Night,” which he is directing. “Complete Works,” directed by Paul Adasiak, started rehearsals a little earlier than “Twelfth Night.” With it’s three-person cast, that was a little easier to navigate than the larger “Twelfth Night,” Robenolt said. 

“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged!)” is a comical take on all the Shakespeare’s plays, with three actors playing multiple characters. Expect quick costume changes fast-paced movement as the trio dash through the works, leaving plenty of classic references you’ll know. “Twelfth Night,” one of Shakespeare’s comedies, is a classic interpretation of the play that showcases the Bard’s classic tropes of confusion, romance and mistaken identities, all of which are rectified in the end. Both productions should be considered in the PG to PG-13 range and suitable for families.

Contact Managing Editor Gary Black at 459-7504.

If You Go

What: “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged!)”

When: Times and dates vary, check www.fairbanksshakespeare.org

Where: Jack Townshend Point, University of Alaska Fairbanks campus

Directed by: Paul Adasiak 

Cast: Luke Williams, David Martinson and Emily Schmetzer

If You Go

What: “Twelfth Night”

When: Times and dates vary, check www.fairbanksshakespeare.org

Where: Jack Townshend Point, University of Alaska Fairbanks campus

Directed by: Tom Robenolt

Cast

Kellie Bernstein — Valentine, musician

Audrey Fox — Olivia’s servant

Bruce Hanson — Sir Andrew Aguecheek

Annabel Heyne — Viola

Shirley Hughes — Maria

Flyn Ludington — Countess Olivia

Darren Napoli — Antonio

Nick Nappo — Feste the Jester

Turner Nolan — Stagemanager, Captain, Officer, Priest

Jared Olin — Sebastion

Matthew Reckard — Sir Toby Belch

Tom Robenolt — Duke Orsino

Bruce Rogers — Malvolio

Covid Protocols

Face masks and hand sanitizer will be offered for guests. A section in the audience is reserved for guests who wish to social distance.