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Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre premieres in-person production of Twelfth Night

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 3:56 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - After premiering the “Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged,” Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre (FST) is ramping up their season with a production of “Twelfth Night,” opening Friday, July 23.

After more than a year of virtual shows, FST is performing this play in-person.

Actress Flyn Ludington first became involved with the theater company during the pandemic. “Getting out here with the full cast, and out in the elements and in-person, it really changed the game for a lot of us,” Ludington said, adding, “It’s going to be really nice to have an audience.”

Annabel Heyne plays lead character Viola. She’s been acting in Shakespeare plays for most of her life. “It’s been so much fun to get back into it because its been years since I’ve done theater, and then also at least a year since I’ve been able to participate in live theater in any way, like even see live theater,” she said.

Rehearsals began in June. “It could have been so painful and stressful, because we had less time than we have normally had, but everyone just came excited and prepared and knew the show and knew their character, and was ready to rehearse,” Heyne said.

The play, written in the early 17th century, explores the concept of gender. “Gender doesn’t confine us. It has never confined us. Any societal concept of gender we can transcend,” Ludington said.

Both actresses highlighted the relevance of Shakespeare’s work for a modern audience.

According to Ludington, “It’s emotion, and it’s humor at its most raw. There are some concepts that are relevant to today, that I think are really nice to be able to bring to our community.”

For those unfamiliar with Shakespeare, or reluctant to attend a play by the Bard, Heyne recommended, “Just go and watch one Shakespeare play, and tell me that you don’t feel like you relate to the characters... You’re gonna get the jokes, you’re going to relate to the characters.”

She added, “It’s still so, so contemporary, and if you can see it live and if you can be back participating in live theater, I think it’s natural. You fall right into it.”

The play will run until August 8th, alternating performances with FST’s other production, the “Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged.”

A full list of showtimes can be found here.

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