Looking for the perfect introduction to Shakespeare for your tween or teen? Don’t miss Twelfth Night at Oregon Children’s Theatre!

Image courtesy Oregon Children’s Theatre

This weekend, my daughter and I were excited to have the opportunity to enjoy Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night or, As You Will at Oregon Children’s Theatre.  It is a romantic comedy focusing on a group of characters with misdirected crushes, silly pranks and mistaken identities.  There’s even some sword fighting!

This show is part of the Young Professionals program, a group of highly talented and dedicated teens working to take their training and craft to the next level.  Each teen played two roles, with several of them playing one male and one female character.  While they were all fantastic, Nirmay Anantha was a standout for his stage presence, confidence, and humor, Sam Myerson for his perfect portrayal of the cheeky Maria, and Michaela Warren Monteblanco for her use of expressions, mannerisms, and body language.

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Character transitions were marked with small costume changes — the addition of an apron, the removal of a hat, the wearing of a shawl, etc.  These changes sometimes took place on stage, with the actors shifting from one character to another in front of our eyes. This is not an easy feat for any actor, but it was especially impressive to see it done so well by teens.

OCT recommends this show for ages 12 and up, and I would agree with that.  My daughter is 11, and although she understood most of what was happening on stage, the traditional Shakespearean language and subtlety of the cueing related to character shifts did leave her with some confusion about various plot points.  However, the talent and expressiveness of the actors allowed the humorous moments to shine through, and I caught her giggling at several points.  One scene involving characters trying to avoid getting caught after playing a prank was particularly funny, and she excitedly told her brother all about it when we got home.  

Image courtesy Erica Vo

I would especially recommend this show to students who have learned about Shakespeare in school.  It is a well done production that highlights the fun and humor in Shakespeare’s work that students sometimes miss when experienced only in a textbook or written form.

The show was about an hour and 45 minutes, including a 15 minute intermission.  It is also general admission seating, meaning you choose your own seat. The play is held in the small Brunish Theater, so every seat is a good one!

The show runs through May 15, and tickets can be purchased on OCT’s website.

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Pro Tips:

  • Check out the Twelfth Night Resource Guide before you go to familiarize you and your child about the show, Shakespeare, and more!
  • Proof of vaccination or negative COVID test are required for entry
  • Masks are required for ages 2 and up
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