By Kristina Houck
Last spring, actor Jason Maddy toured San Diego County middle and high schools as an actor in The Old Globe’s production of William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” Now, the local actor and instructor is launching his own version of the comedy Feb. 28 at Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley.
“It was fresh in my mind, and I thought it would be a good challenge for the kids that I get to work with,” Maddy said.
This is the second time Maddy has served as a guest director at Canyon Crest Academy’s Envision, which offers day classes and after-school programs for cinema, dance, digital and fine art, instrumental music, theater, and vocal music. He directed one of Shakespeare’s early comedies, “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” last year.
“It is interesting to get a chance to work with the students on two different eras of Shakespeare,” said Maddy who is directing several of the same students. “You get to see his growth as a writer. The characters are richer. They’re more realistic. They’re much more human. The text is way more complex.”
A tale of unrequited love and hidden identities, “Twelfth Night” has been performed countless times around the world. The earliest recorded performance of the play was in 1602. Still, Maddy’s adaptation is set in the not-too-distant past and performed to modern music.
“Being set in 1972 to the music of Billy Joel and against the backdrop of Vietnam, we were able to give motivation to characters that I think lacks sometimes when it’s just the play,” said Maddy. “It added so much to the characters. I love finding motivation for the characters, especially when working with younger actors. It gives them something to grab onto.”
Maddy and Amy Blatt, Envision’s theater coordinator, selected the play as a stark contrast to Envision’s second spring production, “Les Misérables.” In collaboration with the school’s vocal music conservatory, Blatt will direct “Les Misérables,” which will run March 21-29.
“I like playing around with Shakespeare,” said Maddy, who has starred in productions in several local theaters, including The Old Globe, North Coast Repertory Theatre and Cygnet Theatre. He has also served as a teaching artist at The Old Globe, North Coast Rep and La Jolla Playhouse.
“My goal is to make it relatable to us 400 years later. I’m real excited about it.”
“Twelfth Night” will run Feb. 28 through March 8 at Canyon Crest Academy’s Black Box Theater, located at 5951 Village Center Loop Road in Carmel Valley.
To purchase tickets, visit www.cca-envision.org/events/tickets.html.
For more information about Envision at Canyon Crest Academy, visit www.cca-envision.org.