Twelfth Night

FEBRUARY 20 — MARCH 2, 2014
directed by Michelle Hensley

“The madness of love and desire, the loss of reason, and the lengths to which you’ll go with it.”That’s what Minneapolis-based director Michelle Hensley says when asked what attracted her to Twelfth Night. That mad desire, and the muddling confusion and white-hot emotions that go along with very deeply wanting—those are the things that Shakespeare coded into the DNA of this play of shipwrecks and separation, false identities and sadness and celebration. For many of Hensley’s audiences, however, “love and romance can be a luxury,” she says; her theater company, Ten Thousand Things (TTT) specializes in bringing high-quality theater productions to homeless shelters, prisons, and other community settings for free, as well as to more traditional performance spaces.

But this is not a scaled-down school tour-style undertaking—TTT’s shows annually top “best-of” critics’ lists, and last year the Star Tribune, the region’s largest newspaper, named Hensley “Best Theater Artistic Director.” With no sets or lights, and minimal props and cos­tumes, the actors meet audiences on a level playing field, carrying them somewhere extraor­dinary through the raw power of story. Her Cal ShakesTwelfth Night will be a high-quality production performed by some of the Bay Area’s leading actors.