Carolyn Jerz (Viola): Meet the cast of Twelfth Night! #PSTTwelfthNight

Meet the cast of Twelfth Night! (May 2-12, Prime Stage Theatre.) We asked Carolyn Jerz some questions about the show:

Tell us a little bit about your character.

Viola, a young noblewoman, finds herself alone in the land of Illyria after a shipwreck separates her from her twin brother Sebastian. She decides the safest plan is to dress as a boy and become a servant to the noble Duke Orsino– with whom she falls madly in love. In the play, she spends more time as a man-servant than the lady she was brought up to be! But Viola is not the only girl in Shakespeare who chases her dreams dressed as a man; so does Rosalind in As You Like It, Julia in Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Portia and Nerissa In The Merchant of Venice. But I think Viola handles everything the best. She is very witty and strong, and shows incredible planning and control over her emotions.

What are some of the unique challenges that you’ve encountered during rehearsals?

There is always another layer of meaning to Shakespeare’s lines, and it’s a group effort to decide where one thought stops and another begins. But we are very lucky to have Andy as our director; he is amazing at explaining to us all the possible meanings and then working with us to pick whichever one fits the story we want tell.

Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare’s best-known comedies and is still performed hundreds of years after it was written. What do you think makes this play stand the test of time?

People still fall in love, make idiots of themselves, and cause drama. The jokes still make people laugh, and the theme of moving on from grief to try and find happiness again is timeless! It’s not as over-the-top as The Comedy Of Errors, and there are no magical Fairies intervening like in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Twelfth Night is much more honest and sincere. (It just happened to be written a long time ago.)

What’s something an audience member should know before they go to see this play?

You are a part of the story! In asides, we talk directly to the audience! Feel free to laugh, cry, boo, and “aww” at whatever speaks to you. (We promise not to poke you with our swords.)

Twelfth Night runs May 3rd-12th at the New Hazlett Theater. Get your tickets at primestage.com#PSTTwelfthNight