'Twelfth Night' offers adaptation

'Twelfth Night' offers adaptation

UA’s Theatre and Dance department is offering a twist on classic Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” CW | Billy Causey

Margaret Wilbourne

The University of Alabama’s Department of Theatre and Dance will offer a twist on classic Shakespeare in its upcoming production of “Twelfth Night,” and Seth Panitch, the director of MFA and undergraduate programs, is producing the adaptation of the play.

The department’s production will still follow the basic storyline of the play, but the fictional setting of Illyria will be swapped for 1920s New Orleans, Louisiana. Panitch said the theatre department’s take on the play is very different from the original, but still respects the heart of the play.

“New Orleans itself is such a mysterious place, and love is the only magic humans create,” Panitch said.

While Panitch has remained dedicated to the focus of original script, he also changed the type of production by making the classic comedy half-musical, half-play.

The Voodoo Saints, a local group that plays in the style of a traditional New Orleans jazz band, will play during 
the show.

“Music is important because it has lyrical emotionalism – it expresses love or a lack of love,” he said.

Panitch said the play’s focus on humanity is what keeps the storyline appealing despite its age.

“This work is timeless because it’s concerned with the human condition, and people haven’t changed much, emotions remain the same,” Panitch said.

William Rowland, a third year graduate student studying theatre, plays Toby in the show. He said the play’s human emotion makes it relevant, especially for a college-aged audience.

“Every character has a match in the show, they each see what they’ve been missing in the other,” Rowland said.

The authenticity of the characters helps the audience relate and empathize with the different roles.

Panitch estimates 70 percent of the script has remained untouched.

“Taking the chance to create something new is a really compelling reason to do [an adaptation],” Panitch said.

Twelfth Night will show from Tuesday through Sunday in the Marian Gallaway Theatre. All showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. with the addition of a 2 p.m. showing Nov. 23. General admission and student tickets can be purchased at the box office or online at theatre.ua.edu.