Door Shakespeare Presents ‘Twelfth Night,’ ‘The Heart of Robin Hood’

In Sherwood Forest, the Merry Men have not yet earned a philanthropic reputation. It’s up to Maid Marion to set them right.

Somewhere far away, a storm wrecks a ship with noble blood as its cargo next to the coastal city of Illyria. A love triangle colors a grieving young woman’s search for a new home.

This season, Door Shakespeare presents David Farr’s The Heart of Robin Hood, directed by Shanara Gabrielle, a retelling of the classic story set in medieval England, alongside Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, directed by Joseph Hanreddy, a comedy whose dramatic tension is centered around a case of mistaken identity.

“As our audience grows and evolves along with our education programs, and as the aesthetic of the theater evolves…it’s always interesting to go back and assess what works. What type of stories do we need to tell?” said Amy Ludwigsen, artistic director of Door Shakespeare, of this year’s play selections. The Heart of Robin Hood will be the first non-Shakespeare play put on by the company since their 2011 season.

The Baileys Harbor-based company is approaching this season with momentum rolling over from last year’s productions, with upwards of a dozen returning actors, actresses and directors as well as growing summer programs giving Door Shakespeare, whose rehearsal schedule is only 3.5 weeks, more of a sense of continuity that wouldn’t be present otherwise.

“Where we perform, storytelling is key,” Ludwigsen said. “While we don’t have a big, beautiful theater and we don’t have a huge lighting grid, we have such great actors that are coming up. [The question then is] what are the stories that are entirely dependent on that?”

In addition to returning actors, the summer children’s theater camp Doorways is expecting almost 100 kids between seven years old and through high school age participating in three camps. Several of these participants have gone on to play roles in Door Shakespeare productions over the past three years.

Live music featured in Door Shakespeare’s performance of Twelfth Night. Photo by Len Villano.

Twelfth Night and Robin Hood will be accompanied by live music, composed by company members Scott Campbell and Mitchell Ferguson and performed by the ensembles of each play.

In both plays, female roles are brought to the forefront.

The Heart of Robin Hood, an adaptation written by David Farr, tells the story of Robin Hood with Maid Marion, played by Taylor Harvey, as the protagonist. As Robin Hood (Torsten Johnson) and his Merry Men steal from the rich to spite the cruel prince, Marion arrives with sword and wit to teach them a lesson in generosity. Directed by Shanara Gabrielle, and with fight choreography by Amie Root, Robin Hood will be a tour de force of womanhood and the power they wield. Also featuring more stunts and active entrances/exits, Robin Hood will be the most athletic production Door Shakespeare has ever done.

In Twelfth Night, Viola, played by Elyse Edelman, finds herself in a foreign land when the ship she and her twin brother Sebastian, played by Mason Conrad, are traveling on crashes on the shore. As she tries to find a way to live in the Kingdom of Illyria, she resorts to dressing as a man to find work and is caught in the romantic crossfire of a noble suitor (Demetrios Troy) and a stubborn lady (Deborah Staples).

Twelfth Night is often told as a story about love and comedy, with the famed Shakespearean love triangle holding the most attention.

“He [director Joseph Hanreddy] delves so far into all of the shadow sides of [the play],” Ludwigsen said. “This [telling] is about a woman who is grieving a loss and people who are trying to rise above their station and figure out mistaken identity and love.”

In both productions, Door Shakespeare is pushing the envelope and trying new things. As talent continues to return to the stage and summer programs continue to prove that classical theater is truly for everyone, this little company nestled into the woods at Björklunden makes its name a little louder in Door County theater.


Twelfth Night runs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8pm and The Heart of Robin Hood runs Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8pm and Saturdays at 5pm through Aug. 19. Some violence is present in The Heart of Robin Hood; any inquiries can be directed to the Door Shakespeare office at 920.839.1500. Tickets are $30 for adults, $19 for students and $9 for children 12 and under. For tickets, call 920.839.1500 or visit The Garden at Björklunden is located at 7590 Boynton Lane in Baileys Harbor.

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