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UNF Shakespeare presents original play “The Mask of Night”

UNF Shakespeare is proud to present an original Shakespearean mashup, “The Mask of Night,” written by English instructor Will Pewitt and recent UNF graduate Jade Marino, that splices together scenes from a dozen separate Shakespeare plays to create an entirely new narrative.

The 17-person cast of UNF students and alumni will perform two full shows and a special short-scene event. Full performances are free and open to the public taking place on Oct. 6 at 7:15 p.m. at Nocatee Station Field and on Oct. 8 at 3 p.m. at MOCA Jacksonville. The special event short scene performances will take place on Oct. 8 beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the Jacksonville Arboretum and Botanical Gardens; register for a ticket.

The central plot begins with three witches, each the spirit of a tragic Shakespearean protagonist - Juliet from “Romeo and Juliet,” Cordelia from “King Lear,” and Lady Macbeth from “Macbeth” - conjuring a spell that “recasts” their younger selves as the three daughters of King Lear. As their stories intersect, new conflicts, contrasts and connections arise. The 90-minute narrative that unfolds on stage offers these characters the chance to re-cast their stories with new trajectories.

“We use Shakespeare’s words, his stories, his characters—but not as we’ve known them,” said Will Pewitt. “The audiences will delight at seeing what masks and disguises the well-known characters put on (or take off) when, just as in night itself, they no longer have to perform the roles they are expected to play.”

“The Mask of Night” is directed by Dawn Knipe, UNF Academic Affairs assistant director who taught and directed theater in New York; with directing and acting coaching by Dr. Maureen McCluskey, UNF English instructor; and scripting and dramaturgy by Will Pewitt, UNF English instructor. UNF Shakespeare is sponsored by the UNF Department of English. Some funding for costuming was provided by a grant from the United Faculty of Florida at UNF. Significant costuming and props were generously donated by the estate of the late Dr. Pam Monteleone, beloved retired theater professor in the UNF English Department.

UNF Shakespeare is a student-facing and community-serving organization which adapts, performs and tours multiple free productions per year on the UNF campus and to the wider Jacksonville area. The group partners with local institutions like MOCA Jacksonville and consults with world-renowned theaters like The Globe, with shows emphasizing accessibility and inclusivity while scripts are adapted as faculty/student collaborations. The group aims to bring the “infinite variety” of Shakespeare’s Elizabethan material into the 21st century with new relevance and fresh resonance.

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