When Bob Franklin directs a show with Aiken Community Playhouse, a typical rehearsal schedule is about eight to 10 weeks; however, by the time the curtain rises on his next show, the actors will have spent four months in preparation.
“The main problem for the actors is they have to learn a new language. This is not a language modern-day people are familiar or comfortable with. They have to have studied it, not just read it.
“The order in which Shakespeare puts things is odd. Verbs come before nouns. He moves things around, and it doesn’t flow smoothly unless actors fully understand it,” said Franklin of Twelfth Night, which opens April 6 at Aiken Community Playhouse, 126 Newberry St. SW.
But when it’s done well, audiences can follow along with ease.
Twelfth Night has a lot of elements that should appeal to audiences, despite concern about the language barrier, he said.
“There’s drama, comedy, slapstick, witty comic repartee. There’s something for everyone,” he said.
The plotline has numerous twists and turns, several love stories, lots of subplots and some general confusion that is all resolved in the end.
“It also has music in it,” Franklin said.
The play’s opening line sets the stage for the show.
“If music be the food of love, play on,” Franklin said, reciting the line.
While Aiken Community Playhouse works to have different offerings during its theatrical season, Franklin said the works of the Bard are not regular fare.
“I did direct a Youth Wing show in the black box, Much Ado About Nothing, but Shakespeare has not been done in Aiken for as long as anyone can remember. This is the first main stage production of Shakespeare, and it’s appropriate for the 60th anniversary of the theater,” Franklin said.
He hopes the community will receive it well.
“I would love to do more,” he said. “I think what we will prove is that it can be done.”
Twelfth Night will be performed at 8 p.m. April 6-7, 13-14, 20-21 and at 3 p.m. April 15. Tickets are $20 adults, $17 for senior citizens 60 and older, $12 for students and $7 for under 12.
For more information, call (803) 648-1438 or visit www.aikencommunityplayhouse.com.