Fraser Valley musician Andrew Gillott is bringing a Shakespeare comedy to Fort Langley in the new year.
On dates in January and February, Bard in the Valley presents Twelfth Night: Or What You Will on stage with a modern twist.
Gillott, director of the production, fell in love with the play when studying theatre in university.
“[I] had the opportunity to perform as the on-stage musician in their Beatles era production of the play. Music has always played a huge part in my life and is the backbone of this story,” he shared.
Befittingly, 12 years later he was given the opportunity to direct for BIV and pitched his favourite Shakespeare play.
“I have always wanted to write music to accompany Shakespeare’s words, especially for this play,” Gillott said.
Traditionally, the play follows twin siblings Viola and Sebastien whose shipwreck finds them on the shores of Illyria, where they are separated and later encounter the Duke Orsino and Countess Olivia.
But in Gillott’s twist, the island is inhabited by wealthy celebrities, and Orsino is famous for his portrayal as ‘The Duke’ and Olivia is a fashion icon.
To avoid deportation, Viola disguises herself as a boy and gets a job working for Orsino, who she quickly falls in love with, but he is in love with Olivia, who is mourning the tragic loss of her brother and is not interested in being courted. That is until she meets Viola disguised as ‘Cesario’ and falls in love.
The love triangle is further complicated when Sebastien finds his way to the manor, whose striking resemblance to Viola causes a flood of questions.
“This play is a classic story of disguise, mistaken identities, and the trials and tribulations of love,” Gillott commented.
Gillott’s twist includes a cast of nine actors, who are in the midst of rehearsals now to bring the colourful characters to life on stage.
“As with any piece of theatre, it’s always exciting to see it all come together at the end, thanks to the work of so many great people!” he said.
He added that audience members can anticipate a show full of live music, multimedia, relatable characters, and hilarious situations.
“I am so excited to bring my vision of this classic story to life. Woven together using modern technology, poetic music, and countless misunderstandings, this play seeks to answer the age-old question of ‘what is love?’”
Tickets are on sale now and can be bought online at bardinthevalley.com.
The play shows on Jan. 25 to 28, and Feb. 1 to 4, at the Fort Langley Community Hall located on 9167 Glover Rd.