Photo credits: Manuel Harlan


International Theater Series

Propeller: Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

Friday, February 22, 2013, 7:30 pm
Power Center

What will you witness?

Propeller returns after its much talked-about 2011 performances of Richard III and The Comedy of Errorswith new productions of Twelfth Night and The Taming of the Shrew, two comedies full of mistaken identities, transformations, and deceptions that ultimately reveal truth.

In The Taming of the Shrew, a man playing a boy dresses up as a girl, which confuses Christopher Sly. InTwelfth Night, a man plays a girl disguised as a boy, which confuses everybody.

Both plays explore beautifully how being in love with the wrong person can reveal true feeling.

Propeller uses an all-male cast as was done in Shakespeare’s day. Mixing a rigorous approach to the text with a modern physical aesthetic, the company updates the productions in surprising ways, with actors also performing live music.

“As directed by Edward Hall, Propeller specializes in knuckle-duster Shakespeare that digs for the harshness beneath the lyricism. Funny, antic, bawdy: the productions are all these expected things. But they also make sure that the chuckles stick in your throat. The poetry may still be pretty; the comedy definitely is not.” (The New York Times)

Program Book [PDF]

Show notes:
2 hours 45 minutes, with one intermission.

Also see:
Propeller website

Propeller uses an all-male cast – even for the female roles – as was done in Shakespeare’s day, updating the productions in surprising ways. They seek to find a more engaging way of expressing Shakespeare and to more completely explore the relationship between text and performance. They include live music performed by the actors (who did a bang-up performance in the lobby during intermission of Comedy of Errors last year). Presenting productions since 1997, Propeller has toured around the globe, visiting Australia, China, Spain, Mexico, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Cyprus, Ireland, Tokyo, Gdansk, Germany, Italy, Malta, Hong Kong and the U.S.A.

Mixing a rigorous approach to the text with a modern physical aesthetic, they have been influenced by mask work, animation and classic and modern film and music from all ages. Productions are directed byEdward Hall, designed by Michael Pavelka with lighting designed by Ben Ormerod. Ed Hall is an associate director at the National Theatre, the Old Vic and the Watermill Theatre, as well as artistic director of Propeller Theatre Company.

This week’s performances mark Propeller’s second appearance under UMS auspices. The company made their debut in March, 2011.


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