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Fringe Favorite - BAMA Theatre Company's Twelfth Night

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“8 ACTORS. 14 ROLES. 1 TRUNK. ARE YOU READY FOR GREATNESS?”

The above statement jolts audience members into the vibe of BAMA Theatre Company’s latest endeavor with playfully re-inventing the oeuvre of William Shakespeare.

In conjunction with the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival, theatregoers can get a creative taste of one of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies, Twelfth Night, via one impressively stocked trunk and a talented heap of actors known as the BAMA Theatre Company.

With 200 productions participating at this year’s Fringe, what makes BAMA’s Twelfth Night a must-go? Here’s the rundown:

BAMA’s signature trunk plays a critical role in Twelfth Night, acting as a central hub for the company. Actors periodically pull costume pieces, props, and at times, the trunk serves as whole other world for the actors to play with (and in!).

Greg Foro, Nick Lawson (Photo: Kevin Hullmuth)

Directed by Casey McClellan with assistant direction from company actor Alison Frederick, the variety and flexibility of the actors is a huge draw. The entire ensemble tackles at least double duty throughout the two acts. Greg Foro goes above and beyond with his portrayal of both the infamous Malvolio and not-so-lost-at-sea Sebastian, bringing subtle nuances to each role to keep the character spheres separate, while the storyline remains uninterrupted. Protagonista extraordinaire Lauren Anne Martin gracefully steps out of the womanly Viola and dives into the guise of Cesario, on a quest to woo Olivia (a perfect comedic-timed Frederick) on behalf of Duke Orsino, as all goes awry and tumbles into Shakespeare’s world of romantic shambles and surprises. Extra snaps must be given to the entire company for making the sometimes-cryptic Elizabethan text accessible, understandable, and imaginative.

Matt Renskers, Nick Lawson, William Brock & Sarah Walker Thornton (Photo: Kevin Hullmuth)

While the production is chock-full of physical humor and charming dialogue, audience-goers will fall in love with the fool to end all fools, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, portrayed by a quirked-out Matt Renskers. Renskers jumps with abandon into a role that calls for constant hilarity, and plays to the audience’s funny bone with a personal touch that seems natural enough to be an extension of Renskers himself. William Brock, Nathan T. Lange, Nick Lawson, and Sarah Walker Thornton round out the brilliant cast.

Twelfth Night is playing at The Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce St. at 7th Ave. South). Performances are 8/17 (8:30pm), 8/18 (2:30pm), and 8/23 (4pm). To purchase tickets, visit fringenyc.org. Advance seats $15, at the door $18. For more information on the company, visit bamatheatrecompany.org. -- Melanie Baker

Posted on August 13, 2012 - by

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