UPDATE: Classic Shakespeare comedy tours the South Okanagan

A travelling troupe will bring a production composed by one of history’s most acclaimed writers to the South Okanagan.

A travelling troupe will bring a production composed by one of history’s most acclaimed writers to the South Okanagan.

A travelling troupe will bring a production composed by one of history’s most acclaimed writers to the South Okanagan.

(Updated Aug. 9 with slideshow of Township 7 performance)

A travelling troupe will bring a production composed by one of history’s most acclaimed writers to the South Okanagan.

“(William) Shakespeare is the finest playwright in any language,” said Colin Cross, who’s producing the mature comedy Twelfth Night.

“His command of the psychological dimensions of character is so profound that he singlehandedly created our interest in psychology more than any other literature before.”

Twelfth Night is being put on by the St. Andrew’s Players and will present nine showings throughout the South Okanagan. Fourteen cast members have been rehearsing and perfecting their roles since March.

“Someone said Shakespeare invented the human; humanity,” Cross said. “The way the human heart works, there’s lots of other literature that tends to display human character, but his range is so extreme — he’s created hundreds of archetypes of human characters.”

Shakespeare was never able to gauge how an audience would react to a showing of Twelfth Night as it wasn’t published until after his death.

After he died, Shakespeare’s peers realized, they needed to  gather every scrap of the bard’s writings to preserve them for the future, according to  Cross.

While some producers tweak the script to adapt it to the evolution of English, Cross said that only minor cuts were made to the original script and none of the language has been changed.

Despite being over 400 years old, the story touches on issues that remain relevant to this day.

“There are all these ruminations about gender, love and mistaken identity,” Cross said. “And also about castes – (Shakespeare’s portrayal of) social castes is still relevant today.”

To protect herself after being shipwrecked in a foreign land, Viola, the female lead, disguises herself as a man and finds herself in the service of Duke Orsino, who she falls in love with. But Orsino is interested in another woman, Countess Olivia, who falls in love with Viola’s male alter-ego, making for a comedic love triangle.

“The language is just so beautiful, the poetry in the play is just extraordinary.”

Twelfth Night begins showing at the Township Winery in Naramata on Aug. 7 to 9; Tinhorn Creek Winery in Oliver on Aug. 11 and 12; Summergate Winery in Summerland on Aug. 13 and 14 and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on Aug. 15 and 16.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the door, or in advance at Dragon’s Den or from the hosting wineries. Children under 12 get free admission.

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