Students from the Drama programme at NUIG will perform one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, Twelfth Night, from next Tuesday, February 13, to Saturday, February 17, at the university’s O’Donoghue Theatre. It will be directed by Max Hafler and performances will take place at 8pm nightly.
Shakespeare wrote Twelfth Night or What You Will in 1601-2. The title represents the twelfth night after Christmas Day, called the Eve of the Feast of Epiphany. On that occasion, servants often dressed up as their masters while men dressed as women – it was regarded as a time when life was turned upside down.
Twelfth Night follows the chaotic tale of twins, Viola and Sebastian, who are separated by a shipwreck and, after believing the other to be dead, eventually find love on the shores of Illyria. Viola disguises herself as a man and seeks refuge in the court of the Duke Orsino, becoming involved in a complex love triangle that becomes even more complicated when Sebastian is finally found. The play contains one of the best-known of all Shakespeare’s lines: “If music be the food of love, play on.”
The director of this gender-fluid comedy is Max Hafler, whose previous directing credits include The Duchess of Malfi, The Glass Menagerie, The Sacrificial Wind and most recently, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Yerma and The Bacchae, which he directed in conjunction with NUIG, all of which sold out.
Max has taught on the drama programme at NUIG since 2000 and has been a guest teacher at the MIT in Boston and the University of Southern Maine as well as in the Lir Academy in Dublin. His book, Teaching Voice, was published by Nick Hern Books in 2016. Max recently set up Chekhov Training and Performance Ireland. Under his direction, the students promise “an electrified and physical experience of Twelfth Night that is not the polite romantic drama nor the comedy of manners, but a lunatic trip into confusion”.
■ Tickets available at NUIG Socsbox (091 492852) and from Druid, €7/€12.