At Classics on the Rocks we believe that just like whiskey doesn't need anything more than rocks to tame it's bite. Shakespeare doesn't need fancy concepts, modernizations, frilly costumes, or big sets to make it relatable. All you need are talented actors who trust the text and tell the story.
This summer we're so ecstatic to be producing Shakespeare's quintessential romantic comedy - Twelfth Night! Filled with mistaken identities, love triangles, and drunken fools - our cast has been hard at work crafting a gut-busting, raucously delightful production.
Recently, we sat down with Rachel Purcell - our leading cross-dressing lady Viola to get her unique take on that brilliant bard and Twelfth Night.
Name: Rachel Purcell
What character do you play in Twelfth Night?
Where are you originally from?
When you're not onstage, what can you be found doing?
Stalking adoptable puppies. Singing the entire Hamilton soundtrack to, I'm sure, the joy of my neighbors. Embracing the basic in me with Pilates/brunch/rosé.
What intrigues you most about Shakespeare?
I like that it's in the public domain and belongs to humanity as a whole. I like that Shakespeare nowadays can function as this glorious sort of blank canvas. You don't have a playwright hanging around trying to make rules about casting and staging and themes to emphasize - you can find what you love in it and draw that out.
What character is on your Shakespeare "bucket list" to play?
Well, it's always been Viola. She's so smart and quick-witted and kind of has to watch in horror as her awesome plan causes all of this hilarious ruckus. I enjoy comedies infinitely more as an actor, so after this summer, once I've got a Viola under my belt, maybe I'll start hoping for a crack at Helena in Midsummer.
Favorite Shakespearean quote:
I'm obsessed with the language in Macbeth and The Tempest. I weirdly love "Hell is empty, and all the devils are here!" It's so evocative. And then I'm super into meta-theatrical stuff, so I really enjoy that one MacB monologue "...a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury..."
Twelfth Night is a classic tale of twins shipwrecked and separated in foreign land. Both assuming the other has perished - search for a way to survive in this strange new world. In doing so, they find themselves quickly caught up in the shenanigans of a world filled with clowns, pirates, and lovers.
Twelfth Night performs July 14, 15, 21, 22 at 7pm and July 23 at 5pm at the Alchemical Theatre Laboratory. Tickets may be purchased in advance here.