Long Beach Shakespeare Company, as part of the Long Beach Sea Fest, produces a children’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Adapted and directed by Cynthia Santos-DeCure, Director of Educational Development at LBSC, three hour-long performances will grace the stage at Bixby Park this weekend as the second year of Shakespeare Summer Drama Camps with Long Beach Shakespeare comes to a close. A professional screen and stage actor for over twenty years, Long Beach is now home to the talented Ms. Santos-DeCure, who sparked the Summer Drama Camp last year, with their run of The Tempest. This year, with professional actors working alongside children from the Advanced Session III camp, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is brought to the public.
A tale of mistaken identities, lost siblings, and misguided loves, Sarah Benjamin plays Narrator for the children in between the scenes of iambic pentameter. The script is adapted with cuts, but not paraphrased, so the audience members (adults and children alike) can still enjoy Shakespearean eloquence in its glory. In the lost land of Illyria, Mark Schroeder (from current LBSC production The Conjugated Beliefs of Usallica) is Duke Orsino, the nobleman vying for the love of countess Olivia (Malika Williams). Twins Sebastian (Daniel Chavez) and Viola (Kathy Yamamoto) are separated in a shipwreck and, both thinking the other has died in the seafaring tragedy, are caught in a whirlwind of Illyrians from servants and stewards to fugitive pirates, fools, and drunken lords.
The children of the cast cover an age range of 10-17 playing multiple roles in the show. Miya Parry (Valentine/Second Officer), Ethan Bradfield (Captain/First Officer, Sunday), and Shannon Knerr (Curio/Gentlewoman/Priest) are double and triple-dipping into this Shakespearean potluck. Not to discount from the other five young performers, though, Sam Weston (also in Usallica, double-cast with Bradfield), Connor Towne, Lauren Webster, Miles Hodgson, and Joshua Lunger are all privileged with speaking roles in a mainstage professional production before they are even old enough to vote.
Amin El Gamal (Malvolio), Will Proctor (Feste), Brando Cutts (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), Randy Castrejon (Sir Toby Belch), Dawn Freedman (Maria), and violinist Colin DeCure round out the fantastic cast, and their hard work and dedication comes to fruition to the public’s enjoyment this Saturday and Sunday at Bixby Park on the corner of 1st St. and Junipero in Long Beach. Performances are 11am and 2pm on Saturday, August 21, and 2pm only on Sunday, August 22. Bring some blankets, lawn chairs, a lunch, or just yourself and come join the Long Beach Shakespeare Company with this summer’s Shakespeare (for kids) in the Park with Twelfth Night!