San Dieguito Academy students to perform 'Twelfth Night'

San Dieguito Academy theatre students will present William Shakespeare's classic comedy "Twelfth Night."

The play, set in the 1920s, follows a woman who disguises herself as a man after the passing of her twin brother. Soon after, a series of romantic dilemmas ensue.

The show will be performed Jan. 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 and 20. Tickets will cost $8 for students and $15 for adults.

Stephanie Siers, the drama teacher leading the production, recently discussed the significance of the performance and what it means to the students.

Why did you decide to have your students perform “Twelfth Night?”

I have decided to produce a Shakespeare play every other year after our success with “Hamlet” two years ago. Because “Hamlet” is a tragedy, I wanted to select a comedy or history for variety. I decided to produce “Twelfth Night” with my Advanced Drama Honors class. Based on the talents and makeup of the class, I felt “Twelfth Night” would be a great fit.

What do you think today’s children learn and get out of performing Shakespeare?

Shakespeare's plays were meant to be performed, not read. Because of this, I feel students get the most out of performing the plays. The language is beautiful and it is a joy to watch the students determine how they want to deliver the dialogue based on their character analysis and development. Shakespeare is known as the greatest dramatist of all time and it is important for all students to have an understanding and appreciation of this important time in theatre history. His work is also incredibly universal and open to interpretation. His plays can be set almost anywhere and the characters can be taken in multiple directions. This allows for a lot of creativity and freedom.

How often do you have your students perform Shakespeare and why? What other Shakespeare productions have you put on at SDA?

I intend to produce a Shakespeare play every other year. Thus far, we have produced “A Midsummer Night's Dream” (set in the 1980s), a contemporary and political-inspired “Hamlet” (during election year), and now “Twelfth Night” (set in the 1920s). Additionally, I teach a Shakespeare unit in my Acting I class. Each school year, SDA Theatre produces five main stage productions including a musical (this year two musicals), as well as an Original One Act Festival and a Cabaret Night (variety-type show collaboration with the SDA Music Department).

How have the students taken to the show?

They are excited. Getting student input and feedback for show selection is important to me. There was a huge desire for Shakespeare and many students listed “Twelfth Night” as a favorite.

What has the rehearsal process been like?

I cast the show in early September and we began rehearsals in mid-October. We had tech week the week before we left for winter break. We will resume with dress rehearsals when we return in January. The class is made up of juniors and seniors who have been involved with multiple previous productions. They are student leaders and take the process very seriously. I am very fortunate to work with a group of dedicated technicians and performers.

What have been some of your favorite moments over the course of rehearsals? Have there been any standout performers or surprises?

Favorite moments include: helping and watching the students find and deliver the comedy; the development of the incredibly beautiful 1920s technical designs; watching the show develop as we integrate technical aspects into the performance.

What do you hope audiences learn from the show?

Our ultimate goal as theatre artists is to connect with our audience and have them feel something. I hope they can connect with some part of the show or the characters. The students have done an amazing job bringing the production to life and I want the audience to appreciate their efforts. “Twelfth Night” is a fun show and I hope they enjoy the production.

For more information about the show and to purchase tickets, visit www.seatyourself.biz/sandieguito.

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