TWELFTH NIGHT, Photo By Joan Marcus

By Hollli Harms

Mobile Unit’s TWELFTH NIGHT by William Shakespeare and directed by Saheem Ali is a devil-may-care production, hysterically funny, rapid fire acting at a neck breaking pace and that is all for free.

Let me say that again, free. You get to see one of Shakespeare’s best comedies done by the always marvelous Mobile Unit for, free. In honor of their 60th anniversary and Joseph Papp’s (the founder of The Public) belief that Shakespeare and theatre should be for everyone, The Public is giving away tickets daily to this bawdy circus.

Deception and disguise, fools and folly, and love are set against the backdrop of Havana, Cuba. You’ll be (oh, did I say free?) delighted with gorgeous Cuban music and dance, costumes and chunks of iambic pentameter spoken in Spanish. TWELFTH NIGHT has never been so sexy and raunchy and funny. Olivia played by Ceci Fernandez is Carol Burnett slapstick and Carol Lombard screwball charm all in one. All of the performances display dazzling acrobatic feats and all the actors are “the third degree of drink, (they are) drowned!” And so are we. Drowned in their elation and joy at getting to do this play.

TWELFTH NIGHT or WHAT YOU WILL is deception at its best. We all lie. To make ourselves look better, to get ourselves the job, the girl, the guy, the revenge. The play works so well because of the revenge and the lying. They are the unspoken pleasures of mankind. Payback is a bitch, but only for the one getting the payback. You’ll get to watch all these wild, maravilloso characters lying and deceiving and falling in and out of love, to a Cuban beat.

Yes getting anything free is never easy so you will have to do a little work – get the app or take the walk to the theatre – but you still get to see Shakespeare for free. And also support The Public’s Mobile Unit, who take these plays to audiences who would otherwise not be able see them. They travel to over 14 different venues from Correctional Institutions to Recreation Centers in all 5 boroughs and those venues always get the show for free. One of the inmates at one of the correctional institutes said to the Mobile Unit’s director’ “Thank you for giving me my human back.” How can you not support that?

One note, because of the bawdy raunchiness, drug culture and sexual innuendos, I do not recommend this production to anyone under the age of 12.

Twelfth Night at The Public Theatre (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Executive Director, Patrick Willingham), Witten by William Shakespeare, directed by Saheem Ali

With Sebastian Chacon (Sebastian), Michael Bradley Cohen (Orsino, Sir Andrew Aguecheek), Danaya Esperanza (Viola), Ceci Fernandez (Olivia), Christopher Ryan Grant (Sir Toby Belch), Donnetta Lavinia Grays (Feste), Aneesh Sheth (Maria), David Ryan Smith (Malvolio), and Michael Thurber (Antonio).

Michael Thurber (Composer), Lisa Kopitsky (Fight Director), Tanya Birl (Movement Director)Arnulfo Maldonado ( Scenic Design) Dede Ayite (Costume Design) Luke Anderson (Production Stage Manager

Free tickets will be distributed in the lobby of The Public Theater (425 Lafayette St at Astor Place) before each public performance. Check the performance calendar for dates/times. Ticket distribution will begin at 5pm for the 7pm performance and Noon for the 2pm performance. Patrons may begin to form a line at 4:30pm for the 7pm performance and at 11:30am for 2pm performance.

PLEASE NOTE: No lines will form prior to these times and the lobby will not be monitored.

Each person (age 5+) may receive up to two (2) tickets. Tickets are subject to availability.

Individuals requiring accessible seats should alert a member of the Public Theater staff before distribution begins.

Free Tickets via Mobile Lottery. Free tickets will be distributed through a random mobile lottery with The Public’s mobile partner, TodayTix. Download the app here to enter to win free tickets each day there is a public performance.

Performance schedule will be Tuesday through Sunday at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. running through Sunday, May 14. For more information, visit The Public Theater.

The Public Theater, LuEsther Theater 425 Lafayette St at Astor Place