CHICAGO Pride Arts today announced it will resume its "Pride in Place" series of one-night only live virtual readings, beginning with an adaptation of Shakespeare's gender-bending comedy Twelfth Night on Jan. 12, 2021, directed by Peter Vamvakas. A cast of seven will play all roles, providing the opportunity for intriguing double casting. Shakira Searle will play both twins separated by a shipwreck Viola, who pretends to be a man after landing on the shore in the kingdom of Illyria; and her twin brother Sebastian, who is missing and presumed dead after the storm at sea. The cast also includes Tekeisha D. Yelton-Hunter, Maggie Clennon-Reberg, Thomas M. Shea, Myrrh Gobenciong, Alicia Berneche, and director Vamvakas.
Vamvakas says, "My approach to directing this adaptation of Twelfth Night is to ignore the pitfalls of gender specific casting and to cast based on talent alone. What makes Twelfth Night perfect for the Pride in Place series is it questions conventional ideas about gender and sexuality, portraying gender as performative and suggesting erotic possibilities between same-sex pairs. "
Additional titles, directors and casts for January and February will be announced shortly.
Costs to view are $10. and tickets are available at pridearts.org/tickets .
In Shakespeare's classic comedy of gender identity and mistaken identities, a shipwreck off the coast of Illyria separates the twin siblings Viola and Sebastian. After Viola lands safely on shore, with Sebastian presumed dead, Viola pretends to be a man called Cesario and finds a job as servant to the Duke Orsino. Orsino is in love with Olivia, who is deep in grief over the death of brother and refuses to see Orsino. Orsino sends "Cesario" to deliver a message, but the situation becomes more complicated when Olivia falls in love with Viola/Cesario, believing her to be a man. That and further mischief in Olivia's court cause much confusion before the final resolution.
Peter Vamvakas (Director) is a professional actor, director and teaching artist in Chicago, its surrounding suburbs and in Indiana. He was resident director at Northbrook Children's Theatre (an Actors Equity Association Theatre for Young Audiences company) for two seasons, where he also performed as an actor for 12 seasons. Other directing credits include THE NUTCRACKER at Theatre at the Center; SEASCAPE, DIAL 'M' FOR MURDER and ROBIN HOOD at the Bowen Park Theatre Company where he also served as artistic director for two seasons and a Shakespeare/fencing workshop for teens (SHAKESPEARE BY THE SWORD) at Theatre of Western Springs. His acting credits include Captain A.J. Smith in the Jeff-nominated chamber musical TITANIC for Griffin Theatre Company and Dr. Tambourri in Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre's Jeff-award winning production of PASSION).
PrideArts is working to produce year-round theater and film projects that change lives in normal (non-COVID) times, the company produces a season of full play and musical productions, as well as events including dance, cabaret, film, and more. It was recently honored with seven Jeff award nominations for the 2019-20 season. Events can be one-night or limited run productions or feature national treasures like Charles Busch. PAC occupies The Broadway at 4139 N. Broadway, which has 85 seats, and The Buena, which has 50 seats at 4147 N Broadway.
PrideArts is supported by The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard Driehaus Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago's City Arts Fund, the Elliott Fredland Charitable Trust, Proud to Run, The Pauls Foundation, The Heath Fund, The Service Club of Chicago, the AmazonSmile Foundation, Arts and Business Foundation, Tap Root Foundation, Arts and Business Council, and Alphawood Foundation.
PrideArts is a member of the Smart Growth Program of the Chicago Community Trust. PrideArts is a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Northalsted Business Association, Uptown United, and The League of Chicago Theatres.
For more information and to donate, visit www.pridearts.org or call 1.773 857 0222.