Anyone who's experienced the crushing blow of unrequited love can appreciate the predicament of the characters in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. When the protagonist, Viola, washes ashore mythical Illyria after surviving a shipwreck, she disguises herself as a man, changes her name to Cesario, and takes a job working for Orsino, Illyria's duke. Orsino is trying to woo a woman named Olivia, who doesn't return his affections. Olivia does, however, fall for Viola-as-Cesario, just as Viola in turns realizes she is in love with Orsino. The triangle is further complicated when Viola's identical twin brother, Sebastian, shows up. One of Shakespeare's most-loved comedies, the play delivers all the raucousness you would expect from a plot revolving around mistaken identities and identical twins. But despite the madcap feel, at its heart is an earnest examination of class, ambition and the insanity of love. St. Louis Shakespeare continues its 25th anniversary celebration with the production of Twelfth Night, playing at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (August 7 through 16) at the Grandel Theatre (3610 Grandel Square), with an additional performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 13. Tickets are $15 to $25 and can be purchased through www.brownpapertickets.com or by calling 314-361-5664.
Fridays-Sundays; Thu., Aug. 13. Starts: Aug. 7. Continues through Aug. 16, 2009