ADA — This week Cross Timbers Theatre Company will perform William Shakespeare's most accessible comedy, “Twelfth Night.” The Yuletide classic is directed by Kevin Worden and associate director Alan Marshall, and is set on a mythical island somewhere off the Louisiana coast, present-day.

After surviving one of the worst hurricanes in American history, Viola, a famous and pampered rich girl from a large city is washed up on the shore of Illyria, a remote island off the Gulf Coast. Believing that her beloved brother, Sebastian, was killed in the storm, Viola survives and avoids recognition by disguising herself as a teenager named Cesario. She goes to work for Orsino, a local celebrity, who is hopelessly in love with Olivia, the heiress to the fortune of Illyria's most prominent family.

Across the island at Olivia's house her good for nothing alcoholic uncle, Toby Belch, hangs out with a fellow hedonist, Andrew Aguecheek. Toby keeps Andrew and the cash from his trust fund around by convincing him he has a chance with Olivia. But Olivia is still mourning the death of her brother and isn't interested in Andrew or Orsino. Viola comes to Olivia's house at Orsino's behest to convince Olivia to consider going out with Orsino, but "Cesario" does his job too well, and Olivia finds herself attracted to who she thinks is Orsino's young, male employee. To complicate matters further, Viola has fallen in love with Orsino, and is torn between her need to stay disguised and her love for her boss, who believes she is a boy. 

Meanwhile, Olivia's pious and arrogant butler, Malvolio, has had enough of the noisy singing and partying of Toby, Andrew, and Feste (a struggling local comedian), and threatens to have Olivia's maid Maria fired for allowing the late night debauchery. Maria cooks up a plan for revenge on Malvolio involving a fake letter from Olivia to Malvolio declaring her love for him and directing him to put on ridiculous clothing and act the fool. Molvolio, who is secretly in love with Olivia, finds the letter and takes the bait.

On another part of the island Viola's brother, Sebastian, who has survived the hurricane after all, befriends Antonio, the captain of the ship that rescued him. Later, the love triangle between Olivia, Orsino, and Viola disguised as Cesario is complicated by Sebastian's resemblance to Viola, a complication which eventually provides the way for a happy ending for all except Malvolio, who vows revenge on those who have made him a laughing stock. 

“Twelfth Night” promises a surprising, even illuminating take on a beloved favorite.

Performances are 8 p.m. nightly Dec. 7-9 at East Central University’s Faust Hall Auditorium, with a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.

Twelfth Night is rated G for all audiences. Tickets are $7 each, and $5 for seniors and students with a valid school ID. Groups are welcome, and a discount rate may be negotiated for parties of ten or more. For more information, phone (580) 272-4825.

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