‘Lions In Illyria’ Opens At LALT Friday

‘Dodo Fights Lion’ – Dodo Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Patrick Webb) fights Lion Violet, in disguise as Cesario (Rose Corrigan), over the affections of the Lady Olivia, Illyria’s most beautiful Gazelle (Tina Jenkins, not pictured). Photo by Laura Erickson

LALT News:

The Los Alamos Little Theater continues its season at 7 p.m., Friday with the opening night of Lions in Illyria.

This new play by Chicago’s Robert Kauzlaric retells Shakespeare’s classic Twelfth Night in an adaptation for all ages with themes of friendship, bullying, love and sibling rivalry, plus epic sword-fighting, dancing, disguises and silliness.

Four adult actors bring the story alive, transforming into a crazy cast of animal characters inhabiting the magical world of Illyria.

Director Jess Cullinan chose the play specifically for its family-friendly appeal, and is thrilled to have the chance to bring young audiences to Los Alamos Little Theatre.

“Shakespeare was a master storyteller, and the opportunity to introduce one of his classic comedic stories to young theatergoers is exciting,” Cullinan said.

That introduction will go beyond the typical weekend performances at the Little Theatre, as they open their doors to about 300 children from Los Alamos Public Schools for a day of field trips to see the performance.

Twelfth Night was one of the first professional plays I ever saw,” she said, “and it was on a school field trip. It was an experience that really stayed with me. I hope these students will be able to have a similar experience with this version of the story, and seeing a live theatrical production. It’s so different than watching a movie or TV show and our terrific cast is excited to bring this show to life for them.”

The actors, Rose Corrigan, Jim Jenkins, Tina Jenkins and Patrick Webb, play multiple characters from Shakespeare’s play in the guise of funny animals: a gazelle, a peacock, a hyena, a warthog, a dodo bird and the lions of the play’s title. They’ve spent rehearsals finding ways to embody their animal characters while learning a little bit of sword play and some Elizabethan dancing.

The performances also feature traditional music from the Shakespearean era played throughout the performance. Musicians Patricia Fasel, Galen Gisler, Kathy Gursky, and Donna O’Donnell accompany the action on stage with recorders, drum and viola.

The play opens at 7 p.m. and continues for two weekends only through March 6 with performances at 7 p.m. Fridays, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets for this production can be purchased for the special rate of $10, and are available at CB FOX, lalt.org or at the door. The Los Alamos Little Theatre is at 1670 Nectar St. in Los Alamos.