Put on your red shoes and dance the blues at Island Park with Stone Soup Shakespeare as they present a David Bowie-influenced performance of “Twelfth Night” at 6 p.m. on July 6. Admission is free to the annual Geneva Shakespeare in the Park event.
Shakespeare’s classic tale of twins shipwrecked on the shores of Illyria, both imagining the other drowned, will be set in a world inspired by fame and the fantastical spectacle Bowie’s music and persona created, featuring glam costumes and original lyrics and instruments inspired by the legendary performer.
Viola and Sebastian each believe the other to be drowned. Viola disguises herself as a young man and, under the name of Cesario, and gets a job as a servant for Duke Orsino. Orsino is in love with Lady Olivia who is in mourning for her dead brother and has rejected his advances. Orsino sends Cesario (Viola) to woo Olivia on his behalf. Olivia falls in love with Cesario, and Viola falls in love with Orsino. Sebastian survives the shipwreck, rescued by Antonio, a ship captain known in Illyria as a pirate. When they arrive in Illyria, Antonio, a wanted man in the land, hides while Sebastian explores on his own and meets Olivia. She mistakes him for Cesario and asks him to marry her, and he, confused, agrees. Confusion continues around the mistaken identity of Sebastian and Cesario, and exactly who is promised to whom.
The play is directed by Samie Jo Johnson and features Hasanah Brown, Angie Fisher, Joshua Pennington, Julia Stemper, Travis Wiggins and Theo Zucker. The company purposefully keeps the ensemble for its touring shows small, creating a frenetic energy as the actors swap hats and characters, doubling roles onstage.
These six actors will create a Bowie-inspired musical landscape with created and familiar instruments, dance to the music of Shakespeare, while crafting a story that is easy to follow, using Shakespeare’s language, simple props and the backdrop of the Fox River.
“Bowie was never afraid of transformation/reinvention and chasing what he wanted,” said Eric Mercado, Stone Soup company member and frequent tour director. “He interpreted love songs and lived life by his rules. Orsino does this. Olivia does this. Antonio does this.” The others, Mercado noted, play the roles similar to Bowie’s dedicated fan base.
The performance is suitable for all ages. Bring chairs, blankets and picnics (or purchase food from vendors Graham’s and Stockholm’s and enjoy 90 minutes of comedy and culture on the banks of the beautiful Fox River.
Seating begins at 5 p.m., and a preshow craft activity for children will be offered by Geneva Public Library District. Parking is available in the lot at the southeast corner of Route 25 and State Street, and in the Metra commuter lot just south of the railroad bridge on Route 31. Follow the signs on the river path to Island Park.
Stone Soup Shakespeare was founded in 2010, and its mission is to bring free professional theater in areas without access to it. The company presents theater events in both the US and UK and has featured professional actors from England, Scotland, New York, Chicago and the Southern Illinois region who have appeared off-Broadway, regionally and on national and international tours.
This event is presented by the Geneva Cultural Arts Commission. For more information, visit facebook.com/GenevaShakespeareInThePark, www.genevarts.org or call 630-938-4530.