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Twelfth Night Comes to Heron

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Shakespeare in the Parks

The Montana Shakespeare in the Parks touring company is making its way to Heron with a performance of Shakespeare’s most popular comedy, Twelfth Night. This summer marks the company’s 29th season, which will include 66 performances in 50 communities throughout Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. The performance of Twelfth Night will begin at 6 pm in the Heron ball field behind the community center. Thanks to sponsors, especially Montana’s Subaru dealers, all performances are free and open to the public.

     Twelfth Night is considered by many to be Shakespeare’s finest comedy, which is probably why this company has already produced it a total of three times. This year, Artistic Director Joel Jahnke will make it four, and the second for him personally.

     Featuring a marvelously integrated plot, mistaken identities and hilarious disguises, this entertaining tale intertwines the lives of such wonderfully crafted characters as the self-centered Malovio, the independent, yet high-strung, Olivia, and the incredibly inept Andrew Aguecheek.

     Twelfth Night holds additional meaning for Jahnke, because not only was it one of the first of Shakespeare’s plays he, “ever had the pleasure to direct,” it also marked his directorial debut with the company back in 1984. “Twelfth Night will always be a special play for me,” he explained. “I knew that I would someday return to it and, now that I have, I’m falling in love with it all over again.”

     Shakespeare in the Parks’ 2001 company is comprised of ten professional actors selected by national auditions earlier this year. As in past seasons, half of the company is comprised of MSIP veterans and the other half is new to the tour.

     Audiences will most likely recognize Montana natives Bret Tuomi and Lisa Mauch. Bret, who is an actor known throughout the state particularly for his character roles, such as last summer’s hilarious performance of Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, and as Launce in Two Gentlemen of Verona the year before, is back for his third season as an actor and second as MSIP’s company manager.

     Lisa Mauch, now a Chicago transplant who most recently toured with the Shakespeare and the Schools production of Romeo & Juliet as the nurse and with the summer tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Hermia, returns for her fourth summer.

     Returning to the company for a second season are Chicago actors Susan Miller, who toured with both the summer and school tours in 1999, Casey Andrews, who was a part of the 1998 summer company, and Paul Turenne, who toured with Lisa in the school tour this past fall.

     New to the MSIP acting company are Will Dickerson and Mandy Schneider, both from Chicago; Jason Earles, an Oregonian who spent the last two summers performing in Virginia City; Simon Provan from Milwaukee; and Eric Thompson, a Montana native and MSU Theatre Arts student.

     In addition to the Montana Subaru dealers, support for the 2001 Montana Shakespeare in the Parks tour include: The Allen Foundation for the Arts, Jerry Metcalf Foundation, Carol Franc Buck Foundation, Montana Power Company, Montana Lottery, Stillwater Mining Company and Target. Additional information, including a complete tour schedule, is available on the Montana Shakespeare in the Parks web site at



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Susan Saxon d'Aoust Susan Saxon d'Aoust is a writer based in Clark Fork.

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