Theater fans can take a journey with a shipwrecked young lady who disguises herself as a man to get along in society in William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night."
Westerville South Theatre Troupe 513 will present the show at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, through Saturday, Feb. 3, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, at the school, 303 S. Otterbein Ave.
Tickets, at $6, can be purchased at localevelevents.com or at the door.
"Twelfth Night" is a comedy of gender identity, missed opportunities and human nature, according to Matt Wolfe, director.
The story centers around a set of twins, Sebastian, played by junior Caleb Jingo, and Viola, played by senior Cherish Myers.
"They are separated after a shipwreck and fear that the other has died at sea," Wolfe said. "The play opens with Viola washing up on shore and landing in the town of Illyria."
It's there where she decides to dress as a man to gain respect from the noble Duke Orsino, played by senior Greg Hassenpflug.The Duke takes to Viola, now dressed as Cesario, right away and has him go to Olivia, played by senior Abby Messina, to woo her to marry Orsino.
Olivia, who is in mourning, has sworn off men for seven years, although she develops a crush on Cesario, which puts Viola in an awkward situation.
Olivia's house consists of Sir Toby Belch, played by senior Adian Thompson; Sir Andrew Aguecheek played by senior Matt Reece; Maria, played by senior Caroline Warrick; Malvolio, played by senior Ian Wesley and Feste the fool, play by junior Oliver Runyon.
Sebastian washes up on shore, with the help of Antonio, portrayed by senior Madi Staten, and decides to go to Illyria to make a name for himself and start his life over.
Fabian, played by junior Brandon Allbritton, also joins the ensemble to create a fun evening at the theater that asks the audience how far is too far, Wolfe said.
"What dangers do we expose ourselves to when we live in the excesses of life?" he asked. "Olivia's attendant and adviser, Malvolio, is the one character who lives in a more puritan state and he is teased and bullied for living that lifestyle."
When it comes to who is right, "Shakespeare doesn't answer that question, but rather poses it for the audience to sort out for themselves," Wolfe said.
Throughout this staging process, Myers said, she has learned the value of Shakespeare and how powerful his work is.
"Before this show, I hadn't had a lot of experience with it, but once we dove into rehearsals, I absolutely loved it," she said. "It was like discovering a whole new language. I enjoyed digging deeper into the text to really understand why Viola does what she does and says what she says."
Hassenpflug said there are many lessons about human nature in Shakespearean literature that are still applicable to the modern day.
"Twelfth Night" breaks down the mental barrier that Shakespeare is unintelligible and outdated, Thompson said.
"In reality, it's full of action and characters that are larger than life," he said.
Senior Evie Seitz provides a music soundtrack to this play.
"Student designers under the direction of Derrick McPeak and two student directors round out this incredible group of people bringing the bard's words to life," Wolfe said.