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Menlo School presents 'Twelfth Night'

Performances this Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," the 400-year-old gender-bending comedy, will be staged Friday, Feb. 9, through Sunday, Feb. 11, at Menlo School's Florence Moore Auditorium, 50 Valparaiso Ave. in Atherton.

Tickets are available for online advance purchase at store.menloschool.org; they cost $10 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets may also be available at the door one hour before each performance. The production is suitable for all audiences.

The romantic comedy centers on twins Viola and Sebastian, who are shipwrecked and washed ashore on the mysterious island of Illyria. Separated, each fears the other is lost at sea. Viola disguises herself as a boy to survive, but falls in love with Duke Orsino, while the object of Orsino's obsession, Countess Olivia, falls for the disguised Viola.

Cast member Maddie Bernheim says playgoers of all ages will love "Twelfth Night" because "it's very fun and entertaining, giving people a more accessible way to enjoy [Shakespeare's work."

Maddie's character, Viola, who is disguised as a male for the majority of the play, shows "an exploration of gender boundaries in a way that is incredibly relevant today, as gender fluidity moves into the spotlight," she says.

Menlo's director of creative arts, Steven Minning, is staging his 14th main-stage performance, but it is his first Shakespeare production for Menlo School.

Continuing a tradition of philanthropy Mr. Minning began four years ago through Menlo Drama Gives Back, this production of "Twelfth Night" will benefit Equal Rights Advocates, a national nonprofit women's rights organization.

Menlo Drama has previously raised more than $27,500 -- mostly from audience donations -- for the benefit of specific nonprofit organizations chosen by the casts of each production.

Barbara Wood

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