Jeremy Fiebig has a strong history in theatre. He is the Assistant Professor of Theatre at Fayetteville State University and Managing Director at the Gilbert Theater. He is also the founder of Sweet Tea Shakespeare. Sweet Tea Shakespeare is a two-year-old theatre group that until now has performed outdoors during the summer at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden. This January the troupe will perform Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night; Or What You Will.
This growth in Sweet Tea Shakespeare is exciting, but it does not come without challenges. “This is our first winter production after two years of performing exclusively at Cape Fear Botanical Garden,” said Fiebig. “This is our first indoor performance and the first that is not in the summer. It is a challenge because we think differently between the indoors and outdoors. “
This show is about the twins Viola and Sebastian and their misadventures trying to reunite after a shipwreck separates them. “The show refers to the 12 nights of the Christmas season, the end of the Christmas season. That’s why we scheduled the play for the end of January, when people are beginning new things,” said Fiebig.
For this performance Sweet Tea Shakespeare will be doing different things, too. There will be two performances at each indoor venue — the Cape Fear Botanical Garden and the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. There will be some differences but Sweet Tea Shakespeare will continue to provide a laid back atmosphere. There is music, fellowship and a play. People are welcome to come early. There will be carols, music, actors talking with people and holiday treats. “It will have the same picnic/ family reunion feel. It will be like a winter gathering over at a friend’s house on a cold night. It feels laid back.” Fiebig says.
Despite being a Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night is still incredibly relevant. Fiebig explained, “The common misconception about Shakespeare is that the way he wrote was old fashioned and old English. Actually, he was inventing some of the language that we use today. This speaks to the connection that many people have to Christmas. It is a bittersweet take on what it means to hang out with friends on a holiday. There is death, comedy and issues of mistaken identity, love and fun. The streak of death and the dark tone really rounds it out. It really speaks to those whose holidays aren’t always happy.”
Sweet Tea Shakespeare will perform Twelfth Night; Or What You Will at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden Jan. 10 -12. The shows begin at 7 p.m. at 536 N. Eastern Blvd. Performances at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church will be held Jan. 17-19. Shows begin at 7 p.m. at 1601 Raeford Rd. Tickets for garden members are $10, non-member tickets cost $12, student tickets cost $7.50, children tickets (5-12 years old) cost $5, children under 5 are free, and FSU students will be charged $5. To purchase tickets online or for more information visit: www.sweetteashakespeare.com. To purchase tickets by phone from the FSU box office call 910-672-1724.
Photo: It takes hours of preparation and rehearsals to bring a production to the stage.