Gannon University’s Schuster Theatre Presents “Twelfth Night”

Posted: December 3, 2015

"Better a witty fool, than a foolish wit," says Feste the jester in Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," and 414 years after it was written, the comedy of mistaken identity, and gender politics still packs a witty punch of tomfoolery.

The Rev. Shawn Clerkin, who will direct the production at Gannon University's Schuster Theatre this week, can experience that first-hand. He'll take the role of Sir Toby Belch for which, he says, "an actor can belch on cue, which is marvelous."

But Clerkin's long experience with the play (he appeared as Malvolio as a Gannon University student in 1984) and with life has given him a deeper perspective on all the fun and games.

"My taste in Shakespeare has changed," Clerkin said. For all its witty foolishness, "Twelfth Night," he said, "has a dark edge with plenty of manipulation and comic cruelty."

This is Clerkin's first time directing "Twelfth Night," and to accommodate a rehearsal period shortened by the extensive run of Gannon's "Fright Night" plays, he has mad an adaptation of the script. "I wanted to make it shorter, get rid of jokes that aren't funny and bring some characters together," he said. 

Clerkin's 11-character version can be seen Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 3-5 and 10-12 at 8 p.m. with a Sunday matinee on Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. at the Schuster Theatre in Scottino Hall, 620 Sassafras St. Admission is $7 or free with a Gannon University ID. For reservations, call the Schuster Theatre Box Office at 814-871-7494.