ACTive Roles to take on Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’

IN COSTUME for their Twelfth Night performance are, from left, Katie Davis, Madison Mercer, Julia Buck, Abby Scott, Alex Fabrizio, Linh Le, Cody Scott, Cerra Cameron, Shyla Haydin, Cara Mrock, Cameron Murphy.

MARTINS FERRY — The ACTive Roles Theatre Company is slated to present Shakespeare in the Park: “Twelfth Night” to be performed in the Martins Ferry City Park at 5 p.m. May 17-18 and 3 p.m. May 19-20.

This is a free, public production performed by local youth.

Twelfth Night is a comedy written by William Shakespeare and is one of his most popular and widely performed works. The play, set at the close of the Christmas season in Illyria, follows the twins, Sebastian and Viola, who are shipwrecked and separated. Viola disguises herself as a man and secures a job with the Duke Orsino, whom she falls in love with, who in turn loves the Countess Olivia, who eventually falls in love with Viola, believing her to be a man.

The play brims with love triangles, mistaken identities, plot twists, and merry pranks.

ARTC’s production capitalizes on the Christmas theme, and is set in the present-day at an ugly-sweater Christmas party.

The set is a tacky conglomeration of over-the-top Christmas ACTive Roles Theatre Company decor, and the Elizabethan songs have been substituted with modern Christmas music.

A diverse group of actors, of many different backgrounds and abilities, between the ages of 10 and 18 have come together to bring this play to life, rehearsing daily since the start of February.

In the role of Orsino/Sir Toby Belch is Lliam Gerney of Wheeling. Olivia is played by Madison Mercer of St. Clairsville.

Cara Mrock of Martins Ferry plays Valentine/1st Officer. In the role of Fabian is Katie Davis of Martins Ferry.

Viola is played by Linh Le of St. Clairsville. Alex Fabrizio of Wheeling plays Antonio/Sea Captain/Servant.

In the role of Maria is Abby Scott of Dillonvale. Sebastian is played by Cerra Cameron of St. Clairsville.

Shyla Haydin of Martins Ferry plays Malvolio. In the role of Sir Andrew Aguecheek is Cameron Murphy of Martins Ferry.

Curio/Priest is played by Cody Scott of Dillonvale. Julia Buck of Tiltonsville plays Feste.

Linh, Madison, and Katie are all actors who have stepped into their roles during the rehearsal process.

Additionally, Lliam and Alex both picked up additional characters after the initial casting.

The play is directed and designed by Megan Simcox of Martins Ferry. Patty Morgan of Barton is the stage manager.

ACTive Roles Theatre Company is a non-profit operating out of the Martins Ferry Recreation Center. The company, started in October 2016, is run by volunteers and relies 100 percent on donations by students, volunteers and local community members.

ARTC has a 3-part mission to offer free theatrical training to local youth between the ages of 10 and 18, to produce free community productions, and to generate new works tackling issues affecting the local community.

ARTC also produces a local radio program written and performed by local kids. ARTC will begin offering adult acting classes and programming in the fall of 2018 for a small fee.

More information can be found at www.activeroles.org or by contacting Megan Simcox at activeroles@gmail.com. In the event of rain at showtime, the performance will be held until the weather clears or canceled if the weather doesn’t pass.

About Megan Simcox

Megan Simcox, founder and head coach, has been creating and performing in theatrical productions for over 18 years. As an alumnus of the Martins Ferry High School drama club, the Ohio University Eastern department of theatre, and holding a Bachelor of Arts degree in acting from the Ohio State University, she has made it her life’s mission to spread the joy of theatre to the residents of the Ohio Valley. She has studied the techniques of Meisner, Stanislavski, Kristin Linklater, Lessacs, Edith Skinner, Laban, Alexander, Viewpoints, and IPA. She has worked professionally in the theater as an executive assistant to the director of the Palace Theatre in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and its related international touring company, Spirit Productions, in which position she also got experience running auditions at the Ripley-Grier Studios in New York City.

She believes that theatre should hold a higher purpose in society, rather than existing for ticket sales and basic entertainment. She believes theater has the power to change the world. It is with that in mind that she has founded ACTive Roles to offer free classes to local youth; free community performances; and a public-outreach project to tackle local issues from the perspective of the youth in the community.

She hopes this organization will provide an alternative after-school activity that will enrich both the lives of the students who participate, as well as, the community of Martins Ferry, and surrounding areas.

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