Rutgers Theater Company presents "Twelfth Night"

Are you hankering for a real romantic comedy—one that’s teeming with equal parts passion and witty repartee? Try William Shakespeare’s gender-bending Twelfth Night, which charts the adventures of Viola and her twin, Sebastian, shipwrecked on the island of Ilyria. A special workshop production straight from Shakespeare’s Globe in London runs from Friday, September 2, through Sunday, September 11, at the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater. The show opens the Rutgers Theater Company's 2011 fall theater season.

Barbara Marchant, who re-stages and directs the show with Kevin Kittle, says that centuries later the play continues to resonate.

“Love makes the world go ’round,” she says, “and it certainly keeps this play spinning.”

Live music by Marc Teitler, composed especially for the show, “supports, parallels and comments on love’s multiple journeys,” says Marchant, who describes this Twelfth Night as a “carousel of a production.”

Kittle and Marchant direct the 13-member cast of BFA actors who have just returned from a year abroad in London studying at the Rutgers Conservatory at Shakespeare’s Globe, a venue committed to Shakespeare’s work and the legendary 16th-century playhouse for which he wrote. The Twelfth Night workshop was originally directed at the Globe in London by Timothy Walker.

In this production, Marchant and Kittle have chosen to place seating on the stage.

“There is no fourth wall,” Marchant says. She hopes the audience will “come away with a sense of the immediacy of theater. Yes, you’re watching a story, but in this staging, the audience . . . has an immediate effect on the performer. This is the essence of lively action.”

Twelfth Night runs from Friday, September 2, through Sunday, September 11. Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sunday. (No performance Sunday, September 4; instead there will be a performance on Tuesday, September 6.) Tickets are $15 for the general public, $15 for Rutgers alumni and employees and seniors and only $10 for students with valid ID. The Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater is in the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center, 85 George Street (between Route 18 and Ryders Lane), on the Douglass Campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in New Brunswick. For more information about any Mason Gross event, and to learn more about the 2011-2012 Rutgers Theater Company season, visit or call the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center ticket office at 732-932-7511. Media inquiries: Laurie Granieri, 732-932-7591, ext. 516.

Watch a musical excerpt from Twelfth Night: