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Twelfth Night 

When: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through June 12 2010
Price: $12-$17

Last year's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream helped the Impact Theatrecompany consolidate its reputation for quirky, contemporized versions of Shakespearian comedy. Directed by Melissa Hillman, the play provided a glammy, irreverent, Eighties-era version of the bard's moonlit romp through an Athenian woodland. By all accounts, it was a rousing success. This year, Hillman left her lipstick smudge on yet another work from Shakespeare's oeuvre, the beloved gender-bender Twelfth Night. Setting the play in Illyria Studios, and populating it with a bunch of B-list Hollywood types (including some beach bums, glamour girls, and loveable slackers), Hillman took pains to highlight Shakespeare's themes of personal transformation and the constructed nature of identity. She also repurposed several actors from Midsummer: Seth Thygesen, Maria Giere, and Sarah Coykendall all return in this production, each with a new comic persona. (Thygesen went from playing a douchebag Demetrius in Midsummer to a douchebagOrsino, if only to allow for continuity.) Dennis Yen is fabulous as the "ethnic" actor who gets typecast in three minor roles. A Baywatch-style opening trailer, courtesy of local production company Two Trick Pony, helps set the tone and prepares us for some hilarious post-mortems at the end. At  LaVal's Subterranean Theatre (1834 Euclid St., Berkeley) Thursday through Saturday, May 29-29. 8 p.m., $12-$17.

— Rachel Swan


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