Today we meet Stephanie Kestelman, who plays Curio and Officer 1. Stephanie grew up in São Paolo, Brazil, attended Swarthmore College, and is currently a research assistant at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.
Q. So how did you find out about Twelfth Night, and what made you decide to audition for it?
STEPHANIE: I walk on Woodlawn on my way to work every day, and the bright yellow flyer on the bus stop pole caught my attention one morning. I love Twelfth Night, it’s the first Shakespeare play I ever read; and I figured, why not?!
Q. Why not, indeed? Is Twelfth Night still your favorite Shakespeare play, or have you since read others that you love more?
STEPHANIE: It’s still my favorite. The nonsense is just too great. I’m prefer the comedies to the tragedies
8. Have you done theater before this? If so, tell us about some of your favorite shows/roles.
STEPHANIE: I did theater when I was much younger. I was in a production of Anne Frank when I was 8, and the directors created a scene where Anne Frank is Alice and she meets the Queen of Hearts/Hitler. That was me as a young child. I was also in a production of Peter Pan in college as a lost boy.
Q. That must have been pretty intense…
STEPHANIE: I think they wanted the younger kids to have a lighter scene, so to us it was fun. But thinking about it, that would not have been my first choice for a school play!
Q. So now that you’re actually acting in Twelfth Night, are you finding out things about it that you didn’t know before?
STEPHANIE: Yes! I actually read the play a long time ago, and was too young and not a good enough English speaker to get many of the jokes. And I think this time around I empathize with Malvolio a bit more. I used to think Maria was so cool, but the whole prank is too mean when you think about it. I also have a newfound respect for Feste and Antonio.
Q. Poor Antonio. He gets a pretty raw deal…and he takes everything so very seriously. How do you and Officer 2 approach your scenes with him? Do your characters take his predicament as seriously as he does?
STEPHANIE: Officer 2 and I are pretty aware of what is going on around us, though not at the level that Feste understands everything. We arrest Antonio because of our honor and duty, but we ultimately let him go, recognizing that everything else is so surreal that it’s not worth worrying about this one prisoner.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself before we wrap up? Favorite moment in this show? Favorite thing about rehearsing outdoors? Favorite flavor of ice cream?
STEPHANIE: Since you mentioned ice cream… I think the flavor that best describes me is chunky monkey, because it’s fun and kinda crazy and unexpected. I have really enjoyed working with the other cast members. If you ask them, they will tell you I like to joke around a lot and tend to openly express my love for Dwayne The Rock Johnson. And there are some magical things that happen when you rehearse outdoors. This is not A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but it felt like it when we were rehearsing with the fireflies yesterday.
Susan Harris with Stephanie Kestelman