At The Old Globe it’s ‘Twelfth Night’ for lunacy, laughter and love

What happens when a ship wrecks off the rocky coast of Illyria, is both fun, intriguing and proves some will do anything for true love. Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” returns to The Old Globe Theatre, directed by Rebecca Taichman, onstage through July 26.

Viola (Rutina Wesley) disguised as the boy, Cesario, was on the ship with her brother Sebastian (LeRoy McClain). Once on land she finds a job, a friend and a new beau — her boss, Duke Orsino (Terence Archie).

Bliss soon fades as Viola realizes Orsino is pursuing a young beauty named Olivia (Sara Topham). But things really get topsy-turvy when Olivia sets her eyes on Cesario, not knowing “he” is really Viola.

There’s more mischief about as servant Maria (Amy Aquino) decides to partner with drunkard Sir Toby Belch (Tom McGowan) to get revenge on Malvolio (Robert Joy), another servant whom Maria finds presumptuous.

Wesley said she’s always wanted to play a character like Viola because “Viola is incredibly witty, and, disguised as a man, she’s as good as the next guy and always has a comeback. She’s strong, yet she can be incredibly vulnerable. She’s a survivor who has a lot of heart and is a voice of reason.

“One of my favorite scenes is when Cesario is making moves toward Olivia, and I’m on scene as Viola. It gets very confusing, but it was so fun to do. Almost every time we rehearsed there was something different happening.

“The costumes are beautiful, the set design is wonderful, there’s lots of different scenes and crazy stuff, and the cast is just amazing,” Wesley said. “Rebecca has been wonderful guiding us, but above all, it’s Shakespeare. I just adore his work, and it’s a pleasure to just dive in and do it.”