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Shakespeare Helps 2 Women Take Charge of Matters

August 05, 1993|ANNE LOUISE BANNON

According to co-producers Donna Guinan and Diane Berendes, Shakespeare's play "Twelfth Night" is about two women taking charge of their lives and the true nature of love.

Which is why "Twelfth Night" is the first production by their group A Company of Their Own, with performances this weekend at the Los Angeles State and County Arboretum in Arcadia.

"We wanted to put together a company that we could be in charge of, that could literally be our own," Guinan said. "It's the idea of two women taking charge, doing this by ourselves."

Well, not entirely by themselves. The production has a full cast, both male and female, and the director is Bob Pescovitz. But Guinan and Berendes got everyone together.

"I have been producing a Shakespeare workshop (for actors) for four or five years," Berendes said. "It was one of those things where we wanted to utilize the people in the class."

"Twelfth Night" mirrors that attitude with its two main characters, Viola and Olivia.

"They don't wait for men," said Guinan, who portrays Olivia. "It's a comedy, yes. But it's a comedy about love, about the true nature of love."

"Everyone in Illyria (the play's setting) has different notions of love," said Berendes, who plays Viola. She points to the male lead, Orsino, ". . . being in love with the idea of being love. Viola comes in and opens their eyes to the true nature of love."

Another facet of the production is that, while it is free with admission to the arboretum, the company will be raising funds to help Santa Maria House Helping Hands, a shelter and outreach program for women and children with AIDS.

"We're asking for donations from the audience," Guinan said.

Admission to the arboretum, 301 N. Baldwin Ave., is $3 for adults, $1.50 for senior citizens and students, and 75 cents for children 5 to 12. The performances, every Saturday and Sunday through August, begin at 2:15 p.m.

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