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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, August 1, 2003

'Night' offers twisted tale of love

By Sara Lin
Advertiser Staff Writer

Duke Orsino (Moses Goods), left, loves Olivia (Danel Verdugo), right, who is in love with a woman she believes to be a man (Kathy Hunter), front, who is in love with the duke in "Twelfth Night," the final production in the Hawai'i Shakespeare Festival at Paliku Theatre.

Brad Goda

'Twelfth Night'

Directed by Harry Wong III

8 p.m. today and Aug. 8-9; 4 p.m. Saturday and Aug. 10;

Part of the 2003 Hawai'i Shakespeare Festival

Paliku Theatre, Windward Community College

$16 general, $14 seniors and military, $8 students

235-7433, etickethawaii.com

Also in the series:

'Henry IV, Part I'

Directed by R. Kevin Doyle

8 p.m. Saturday; 4 p.m. Sunday

Love causes headaches.

That's what Shakespeare probably meant when he wrote "Twelfth Night," opening tonight at Windward Community College's Paliku Theatre. It is the last of three plays in the 2003 Hawai'i Shakespeare Festival.

Traditionally regarded as Shakespeare's greatest comedy, "Twelfth Night" highlights the serendipity of love. When a young woman named Viola (played by Kathy Hunter) is shipwrecked at the kingdom of Illyria, she decides to dress up as a man and work as a page for Duke Orsino (Moses Goods). While in his service, Viola falls in love with the duke, but he is in love with the Countess Olivia (Danel Verdugo). The countess does not fancy the duke, but instead becomes smitten with Viola, who delivers messages from Duke Orsino.

The play has two titles: "Twelfth Night" or "What You Will."

"Actually, it's more like 'in your face,' " said Harry Wong III, the play's director. Named for the idea of reality thrown upside down, on the so-called Twelfth Night, proper etiquette was momentarily forgotten and everyone was allowed to be as mean, nice or crazy as they wanted to be.

Like someone trying to explain what the ocean sounds like to another who is deaf, Shakespeare has put words to love and longing. Completely by accident and through misunderstanding, Viola, the countess, and the duke find themselves in a love triangle.

"To me, that's what life is," Wong said. "You could be sitting next to a total stranger, and all of a sudden, you sneeze the right way and you make an indelible impression on them."

Wong and his cast of 15 have been rehearsing 20 hours a week and working without pay — doing it because they love it. When he was growing up, Wong remembers his family on weekends heading for the bowling alley, going to a drive-in movie, having a picnic or catching sand crabs at night.

"Never did anyone ever say maybe we can go to the theater; it was just foreign," he said. "It needs to enter people's consciousness that they can go to the theater."