Love can be a roller coaster ride, and that may be especially true for the hapless couples in Shakespeare's romantic comedies, whose courtships always go through plenty of twists and turns, ups and downs.
So it seems fitting that Palo Alto Players is staging an adaptation of the Bard's "Twelfth Night" set in 1920s Coney Island. The company is closing its 91st season with the comedy of mistaken identity. "Twelfth Night" offers a funhouse's worth of confusion and several clowns, of course, in the story of twins Viola and Sebastian, who, separated after a shipwreck, find their way to romantic partners in some unusual ways before finding their way back to each other.
Viola dons the disguise of a guy and takes a post in the household of Duke Orsino, who's pining for noble lady Olivia. The disguised Viola immediately catches Olivia's fancy, but Viola has already fallen in love with Orsino. Things get really complicated when Sebastian, who looks just like the disguised Viola, turns up. Meanwhile, Olivia's pompous steward, Malvolio, schemes to move up in the world by marrying his boss.
The show is presented in partnership with Gunn High School, with a cast that includes Gunn alumni, students and faculty, including James Shelby, who recently retired after nearly 40 years of teaching and directing drama at the school. "Twelfth Night" is directed by Gunn alum Roneet Aliza Rahamim, and the production was adapted by Max Tachis.
The show is scheduled to be presented in person, with a streaming option also available.
Due to safety precautions during the recent COVID-19 surge, this weekend's opening of "Twelfth Night" has been rescheduled for June 17, with a preview June 16, and is set to run through June 26 at the Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. For more information, visit paplayers.org.