Theater & Dance
"Twelfth Night, or What You Will"

A Live Zoom Benefit Performance for the Gastric Cancer Foundation
By: William Shakespeare
Produced by: Silicon Valley Shakespeare
Directed by: Angie Higgins
Assistant director: Tonya Duncan
Stage manager: Alexandra Maisonneuve Teixeira
Featuring: Ellen Dunphy as Viola/Sebastian, April Culver as Olivia, Bezachin Jifar as Duke Orsino, Melissa Jones as Feste, Ross Harkness as Sir Toby, Doll Piccotto as Maria, Nick Louie as Sir Andrew, Jeff Cramer as Malvolio, Doug Brook as Antonio, André Leben as Boat Captain/Fabian/Servant, Kristin Hall as Valentine, Kyle Dayrit as Curio/Officer
When: 3 p.m. Sunday, February 28, 2021
Tickets: : Free; donations are encouraged for the Gastric Cancer Foundation. Donations accepted at

SV Shakespeare
Silicon Valley Shakespeare
Silicon Valley Shakespeare will produce a livestream performance of "Twelfth Night" on Sunday, February 28, 2021, at 3 p.m. California time.
Silicon Valley Shakespeare brings the fun
with 'Twelfth Night, Or What You Will'
One-time, live Zoom event is a fundraiser for the Gastric Cancer Foundation
February 28, 2021

On the 12th day of Christmas, our true love (Shakespeare) gave to us “Twelfth Night, Or What You Will,” a fun romantic comedy meant to celebrate the end of the Christmas season.

Ellen Dunphy
Ellen Dunphy

April Culver
April Culver

Bezachin Jifar
Bezachin Jifar
Duke Orsino

Melissa Jones
Melissa Jones

The play includes music and silly interludes, meant to help audiences enjoy the night before Epiphany, plus some of the great gender misidentifications and cross-casting for which Shakespeare had a gift.

It’s been a favorite for more than 400 years, with productions popping up frequently on professional stages, and in high school and college productions.

Silicon Valley Shakespeare, that respected refuge for lovers of the Bard of Avon, is producing a special, free, online production of “Twelfth Night” for 3 p.m. today. Sunday, February 28, 2021.

Free, for sure, but with pleas for us all to donate some money to the Gastric Cancer Foundation.

The show is cast with mostly Silicon Valley Shakespeare players, but also with a few newcomers to the troupe.

“All of the cast has been touched by cancer in some way,” said SVS spokewoman April Culver, who is playing Olivia in this show. “Everyone has been diagnosed with cancer, or knows someone who has.

“It will all be live, nothing pre-recorded. We’re trying to capture a little spark of the magic of theater.”

Anybody can go to the Zoom room set up for the show — — but everybody is asked to donate some money to the Gastric Cancer Foundation, at

Culver is an Army brat who had to move every three years, but who carried her love of Shakespeare with her everywhere her father was transferred, thanks to her mom, who gave her “a little book of adapted Shakespeare stories” when she was young.

As an adult, Culver has appeared all over the San Francisco Bay Area, in a wide range of roles, including in Shakespeare plays. In addition to helping with publicity (and acting!) for Silicon Valley Shakespeare, Culver also works in the marketing department for New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco.

In “Twelfth Night,” twins Viola and Sebastian are thrown ashore in a shipwreck, but separated. Viola disguises herself as a man, Cesario, but fall in love with Duke Orsino, without letting him know she is a woman.

Meanwhile, Orsino has fallen in love with Countess Olivia, who falls in love with Cesario without realizing Cesario is actually Viola.

Screwball comedy!

Culver is playing the Countess Olivia.

The star role, really is Viola/Cesario, and Ellen Dunphy, another very talented actor, takes that role. Culver has great respect for Dunphy.

“She is old hollywood, all the way,” Culver said during a recent interview. “She is a smart actor, she approaches everything with so much research and care — she knows the whole back story of her character — he favorite food, what they do in the shower, all of that.”

Culver and Dunphy were excellent together in 2017 at The Pear Theatre, in “"In the Next Room, or, The Vibrator Play."

The rest of the "Twelfth Night" cast is also quite good.

“We reached out to actors we felt would want to do the show,” Dunphy said.

Nobody is getting paid, but all are pros, and all are hoping people will want to donate to this good cause.

“It’s nice to do something with your art,” said Culver, “that can speak to something that’s important.”

John Orr is a member of the America Theatre Critics Association. Email him at