Curtain Calls: Lafayette’s Town Hall Theatre streaming ‘Twelfth Night’

Twins separated in a shipwreck, mistaken identities, an unbelievably complicated romance and an amorous locale combine for one of Shakespeare’s most romantic and lively creations.

Lafayette’s Town Hall Theatre is bringing back it’s 2011 production of the comedic gem through its streaming service from now until June 14. I remember reviewing the show in 2011, a lively production directed by Soren A. Oliver and featuring Town Hall Managing Director Dennis Markam as the Duke Orsino with Town Hall’s current technical director and scenic artist, Justin DuPuis, as Sir Andrew. Adding to the comedic relief of DuPuis was the oh-so-funny Clive Worsley as Feste. At the time, Worsley was Town Hall’s artistic director. Others in the cast include David Abad, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Perry Aliado, Alexandra Creighton, Kate Jopson, Kendra Oberhauser, Daniel Petzold and Paul Plain.

Why not take a step back in time and enjoy a fully staged production from the comfort and safety of your home and support local theater at the same time? For tickets, priced as “pay-what-you-can,” call 925-283-1557 or go to

Orinda: If you think theater is dead and gone due to COVID-19, you’re sorely mistaken. Not only are organizations like Town Hall, Berkeley Rep, Center Rep and many more dusting off their video archives, many are also producing a myriad of virtual programming. In Orinda, California Shakespeare Theater’s resident dramaturge, Philippa Kelly, continues to engage audiences with her 10-minute video lectures each week now through Christmas. In 37 weeks, she intends to “run the canon” discussing all of Shakespeare’s 37 plays while #ShelterHereabouts features a series of “micro-commissioned” monologues performed by various Bay Area actors.

And new up at Cal Shakes is Mystery Shakespeare Theater 1592. This latest innovation is a live watch party of a various filmed Shakespeare plays on Zoom. Audience members sign up for a mystery film that won’t be revealed until the event begins. They then join in as four panelists provide hilarious and insightful commentary throughout the screening, creating a fun evening at home but not alone! For more information on all of Cal Shakes’ programs, go to

San Francisco: All the world’s a virtual stage for San Francisco Shakespeare’s upcoming “King Lear.” The company normally spends summer months traveling throughout the East Bay, San Mateo and San Francisco parks performing the Bard’s works. But given COVID-19, audiences will experience Shakespeare safely online rather than under the beauty of a summer sky. When sheltering in place went into effect, SF Shakes had just completed its first day of rehearsal for “King Lear.” Canceling the show, however, never came up for the 37-year-old company.

“It was never a question in my mind,” said Artistic Director Rebecca Ennals. “It immediately occurred to me that it might have to take a very different shape and that it might not be in a park.”

As Ennals and her cast looked at the various possibilities, they realized they had a creative opportunity.

“We’re all extremely geographically, physically confined, but using digital tools we’re not geographically confined at all,” she said. “We can do things with people all over the world.”

SF Shakes’ virtual production features a cast of 10, including Jessica Powell as a female King Lear. Ennals credits the company’s digital proficiency to Technical Director Neal Ormond, who is also graphically designing virtual backgrounds and using open broadcasting software to make actors in separate video streams appear to be in the same location. Costumer Hyun Sook Kim is designing remotely and shipping clothing to actors whom Lighting Designer John Bernard is working with to light themselves. For more information on “King Lear” and when it will be available, go to

Also from S.F.: For you dancers trying to keep in shape, Smuin announces the expansion of its virtual classes. The “pay-if-and-what-you-can” classes include workshops, semi-private lessons and more. For details, go to

Berkeley: Central Works, which performs at the gorgeous Berkeley City Club, has announced that its production of “Queen Mair” will be postponed until 2021. This fascinating work takes place 90 minutes before the start of the tale known as “King Lear.” Here, the old king’s wife, Queen Mair, has asked her three daughters and their nurse to join her in her private bedchamber to say farewell to Cordelia, whose hand is about to be given in marriage. I’ve never seen it before and am looking forward to catching it as part of the company’s 31st season. For more information, go to

Sally Hogarty can be reached at Read more of her reviews online at

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Author: Sally Hogarty