GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Logan Shirley is going to be watching the weather forecasts with a great deal of interest this week.The junior from Grand Junction High School doesn't want to get rained on when he and the rest of the cast perform William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." The classic Shakespearean comedy about mistaken identity and gender confusion will be performed May 2-5 outside in the courtyard next to the auditorium."The weather man is going to be my absolute my best friend," chuckled Shirley, who plays Malvolio. "We want a little overcast so it's not too hot. And no rain."This is the first time the GJHS Drama Department is performing in an outdoor venue. The thespians are taking it to the streets because of the increased use of the auditorium at this time of the year, said director Shawn Clingman. Last year, because of that increased activity, such as Baccalaureate and others, the actors were not able to get on stage and work on the sets for "A Midsummer's Night Dream" until about five days before opening."This year I wanted to avoid that. This is kind of the big experiment this year. Hopefully, the weather holds out," said Clingman.So far, it's a big hit with the actors, despite unusual distractions such as vehicles honking in the street, students playing Frisbee nearby and the occasional looky-loo. And, of course, there's the weather - record-setting high temperatures and shingle-raising winds."Everybody knows it could rain or the wind could blow like crazy. It's all part of doing it outside. You just expect that," said Ellie Gossage, who plays Viola.Keira Lusby, a senior, who plays Maria, agreed."It's a fun experience because it's completely different from acting on stage because you have to pander to the whole audience," said Lusby.The seating will be set up in a semi circle shape in the courtyard around the actors. The actors will not have the use of microphones and the lighting will be all natural.The seating will be on a reserved basis and the number of seats will be limited to about 90 per show, Clingman said. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or by calling Clingman at 970-201-4169. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and senior citizens.The shows are scheduled to begin at 6 each night. There will also be a matinee performance at 1 p.m. on May 5. The comedy is set in 1600s London. Two twins, Viola (Gossage) and Sebastian (Tate Hegstrom), are separated when their ship capsizes and each believes that the other has drowned. Viola washes ashore on the coast of Illyria. She disguises herself as a man and assumes the name Cesario so that she can take a position as an aide to the Duke, Orsino (Zac Barger).Orsino likes Olivia (Allisyn Thompson), who refuses his attentions. He also flirts with Maria (Lusby), Olivia's maid. Orsino sends Cesario as an emissary to Olivia.The foppish Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Ike Fortner) also seeks Olivia's love. He is a friend of her uncle, Sir Toby Belch (Hunter Whaley). Members of Olivia's household plot to embarrass Malvolio (Shirley), a butler who has no tolerance for frivolity. They fool Malvolio into thinking that Olivia likes him, and when he confesses his love, Olivia orders him imprisoned as a madman. Sebastian then turns up and is mistaken for Cesario. "It's really funny. It's one of my favorite Shakespearean comedies. It's a lot of fun," Fortner said.
Viola: Ellie GossageOrsino: Zac BargerOlivia: Allisyn ThompsonMalvolio: Logan ShirleyMaria: Keira LusbyToby: Hunter WhaleyAndrew: Ike FortnerFool: Maria NappiSebastian: Tate HegstromAntonia: Cierra SmithFabian: Arlo MillerValentine: Andrew FoutzCurio: Ryland MahreSea Captain: Gabe Gallegos