Fresh take on Shakespeare at College at Brockport


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The College at Brockport Fine Arts Series continues with performances of William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” through December 7.

Brockport students Lee Charlier, who plays Viola, and James Mitchell III, who plays Sebastian, discussed the play and its impact on their acting aspirations Tuesday during News 8 at Noon.

“We play twins who are shipwrecked in a brand new land and they don’t know where they are,” said Charlier. “Viola then has to go on a discovery, dressing as her twin – who she thinks is dead, and she meets this Count and Countess who are in love with her and then each other and it’s a big, huge mix up, especially when Sebastian comes in the mix and he is mistaken for Viola. And then it’s huge confusion and, and it’s a really great fun piece.”

Mitchell said this is not your ordinary take on Shakespeare. “What we have here is a modified script of Shakespeare and we have a little different gender playing than we do in the normally written script of it. And we play a lot with ‘love is love’ and ‘be yourself,’ don’t worry about who you were in your homeland. You’re in this new land, you can be yourself, you can be who you want to be. I think that’s a really interesting take that you don’t see a lot with Shakespeare, especially nowadays.”

For both students, performing in “Twelfth Night” has been a creative challenge and joy. “I’ve never really had the opportunity to play a character like this,” Charlier said. “Getting to dive into the whole Viola being who she wants to be and really discovering who she is has been a blast to play. And our director is actually from Geva Theatre and so she was brought in. So that’s been an amazing opportunity to work with here at Brockport.”

Mitchell added, “Working with a professional director from Geva, that opportunity alone is something you don’t get – especially from my background with a really small town. I don’t get those kinds of opportunities a lot. So to come to a school like Brockport and those opportunities are just there for you to just take them if you want them, it’s really awesome to have that there.”

For tickets to see “Twelfth Night” call (585) 395-2787 or go to the Brockport Fine Arts website.

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