Shakespeare enters anime

SCOTTVILLE – West Shore Community College’s Center Stage Theater will soon be home to the world premiere of an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s rollicking comedy “Twelfth Night in Anime.” The play opens Thursday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m., and plays again on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m., April 15 and 16, and closes following a 2 p.m. matinee performance on Sun., April 17.

Often regarded as one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, this play has been given an Anime twist, according to its director, Dr. Rick Plummer, director of the WSCC Performing Arts Series. Anime is the popular Japanese style of animation.

Asked why “Twelfth Night” and “why Anime?” Plummer says, “The play is set in an colorful and unusual fantasy-land where almost anything can and does happen to an assortment of wildly hilarious characters—what better setting than that of the world of Anime?”

Asked how the Anime will be seen in this production, considering this type of animation is primarily a cinematic medium, Plummer says that audiences will see a Japanese setting, outlandishly colorful wigs and makeup—all in the Anime style.

Shakespeare loved to use the device of mistaken identity, and nowhere does he use this convention more skillfully than in “Twelfth Night.”

Playing the female lead, Viola, is Performing Arts scholarship student Rae Staffen. Rae was last seen on the WSCC stage in “Proof” last semester. She was also in “Annessia Rising,” Plummer’s adaptation of the Greek tragedy “Antigone,” set in the American Civil War, and in both “The Maids” and “The Bald Soprano” last season.

Her twin brother Sebastian is played by Chaz Mertes, who is also a Performing Arts scholarship student at WSCC. Chaz was onstage at WSCC in “The Bald Soprano” and stage managed “Proof.”

Playing the Countess Olivia is WSCC scholarship student Sara Brown. Sara played the female lead in WSCC’s “Barefoot in the Park” and was featured in “Gypsy,” “Proof,” “The Maids,” and in “The Bald Soprano.”

Cast as the love-sick Duke Orsino is WSCC Professor of Literature and Education Sean Henne. Sean has been seen onstage at WSCC in “Dancing at Lughnasa” and “Smoke on the Mountain.”

Other WSCC scholarship students in the cast include Rob Lata, as the idiotic Sir Andrew Aguecheeck, Danae Mckerchie as the clever maid Maria, Maddie Parker as the musical jester Feste, and Elliot Plummer as Antonio.

Patrick Mousel, last seen onstage for the Manistee Civic Players and WSCC jointly produced musical “Cabaret” in the role of Herr Shultz, is cast as the sot, Sir Toby Belch. Delana Beilfuss is cast as Fabiana, Stephen Schmock plays Valentine, and Mattea Bissell will play the Maid.

Christine Plummer, professional actress, Ludington High School’s drama director, and local on-air radio personality, will be seen as the Ship’s Captain and as the Priest. Rick Plummer himself will be seen onstage as the priggish steward Malvolio.

O.J. DeJonge Middle School student Kaedin Plummer will play Curio, and WSCC students Jon Misner and Nathan Wright round out the cast as onstage musicians who play throughout the

production.

WSCC adjunct faculty in English, Julia Reges, will stage manage, Sharon Steward and Christine Warne are the costume coordinators, Amanda Kaatz is the production’s lighting designer, and Marty Cupp has helped with scene painting. WSCC students Emily Becklund and Jorge Garcia work backstage on the production.

Tickets for the one-week-only run of “Twelfth Night” may be reserved by calling the WSCC Box Office at (231) 843-5507.

For further information on the production or on upcoming Performing Arts Series events, call Plummer at (231) 843-5928 or email him at rjplummer@westshore.edu.