The Marshall County Arts Cooperative is busy making preparations for their next visiting artist, Aquila Theatre Company. The company, based out of New York City, will be here February 27 and February 28 for a two-day residency.
They will perform William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night for the public Thursday, February 27, at 7:00 p.m. in the Marysville High School auditorium. Tickets are $5.00 and may be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce (Marysville), First National Bank (Frankfort), and the Weaver Hotel (Waterville). Tickets will also be sold at the door.
In addition to their public performance they will give a Masterclass for high school drama students from Marysville High School and Valley Heights High School. They will also give a “guided tour” of the performance for area high school students.
Bringing the play to the stage is a new challenge for the arts cooperative.
“We’ve never brought a company of this magnitude to our county,” said Wayne Kruse, the arts cooperative’s executive director. “This is a company of ten people with two trailers full of set pieces, costumes, and props needed to put on the show. We’re charting some new territory here.”
When the arts cooperative brings an artist to the area there is a contract that outlines the parameters of what the artist will do and how much the artist will be paid. In addition, there are generally two “riders” that accompany the contract: one is a hospitality rider and the other is a technical rider.
The hospitality rider identifies how many hotel rooms the artist will need, specific dietary requirements, as well as any transportation issues that need to be addressed. The technical rider outlines all of the sound, lighting, and space requirements needed for the performance.
“Although the hospitality rider can get complicated, it’s usually the technical rider that causes challenges,” Kruse said. “Since we don’t have a fully-equipped performance space in our county complete with full lighting instruments, fly space above the stage, and a lot of wing space backstage, we have to get really creative with how we work with the artist. Aquila is the first professional theatrical troupe that we’ve brought to the area – except for children’s theatre groups – that has massive requirements to make sure the production looks as close to the production they performed in New York. We’re learning a lot, and we’re relying on our friends with theatre backgrounds.”
The way Aquila has staged this version of one of Shakespeare’s comedies is highly innovative, theatrical, and modern.
As the show opens the stage is filled with eerie blue lighting back-dropped in flickering water projections. There are ropes hanging floor to ceiling reminiscent of a ship’s deck. Music is used to help create a mystical mood.
In the first scene two of the characters, Viola and Duke Orsino, jump onto the stage’s hanging ropes and fly through the air in circles mimicking the turbulence of the shipwreck.
“We’re still trying to work out the logistics of whether or not we’re going to be able to do some of this,” Kruse said. “There are a lot of phone calls and e-mail conversations taking place daily to make this happen.”
Aquila is known for their innovative stage design and creative interpretation of Shakespeare’s works. Equally, they are known for their ability to make Shakespeare’s text accessible to modern audiences.
“Frankly, they could perform on a bare stage and their performance would blow people away,” Kruse said. “The actors are skilled and expertly trained that no matter how familiar you are with Shakespeare’s play, you’ll understand what’s going on. Their acting is brilliant.”
Twelfth Night was written in 1600 and is set against a background of romance and mystery. The story centers on identical twins and mistaken identity, and is set in the mystical world of Illyria. The play explores the universal themes of love and all its ambiguous effects on human behavior.
For more information about the production people may contact Kruse at (785) 713-2077.