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CSUB stages "Twelfth Night"
  May 10, 2006
Mike Stepanovich, 661/654-2456,,
or Jaclyn Loveless, 661/654-2138,

A California State University, Bakersfield theater professor is preparing for her final curtain call. Anita DuPratt, who is retiring after 25 years at CSUB, will direct her final play, William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," which runs May 18-20 and May 25-28 in CSUB's Doré Theater.

DuPratt began her career at CSUB in the fall of 1981 when she became the second member of the theater faculty. Now, 25 years later, the theater faculty has grown to seven members, the number of students has increased and the department has better facilities. "It's a good time to leave when things are on a high," DuPratt said.

In her 25 years, DuPratt has directed more than 30 plays from a broad range of literature. She prefers plays with strong social meaning, such as Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge," or Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House," but, for her final play she chose a classic comedy, "Twelfth Night."

"I fell in love with the story," she said. "I wanted to do a comedy and one that would be a fun send-off since it will be the last play I will direct at CSUB."

"Twelfth Night" is about mistaken identities and love. The story begins with twin brother and sister Viola and Sebastian shipwrecked and separated. They both think that the other is dead. Viola comes to shore in Illyria and decides to disguise herself as a man. She takes up the name Cesario, and works for Duke Orsino, but falls in love with him. Orsino, not knowing that Cesario is really Viola, wants to woo Olivia. Olivia ignores the Duke's attempts for her love because she is mourning the death of her brother. But when Cesario comes to woo her in Orsino's name, she falls in love with him not knowing he is a she.

The story, written between 1600 and 1602, is a light and cheerful comedy set in an unknown time in the mythical land of Illyria. Though Illyria was a real place corresponding to the coast of present day Albania, "Twelfth Night" is clearly set in a fictional kingdom.

The cast, comprised of 15 students, features Max Goodwin as Duke Orsino, Max Jacobs as Sebastian; Toni Kerley as Viola; and Leia Espericueta as Olivia. Other cast members are Paul Sosa, Francisco Aragon, Todd Marion, Fabian Euresti, Dashsawn Anton Robert Clark, James Sechler, Michael Pawlowski, Michael Mejia, Danvir Grewal, Amy Echeverria and Kelly Morris.

Two student performers will also be leaving CSUB to further their education after the quarter's end.

  • Espericueta, who plays Olivia, has been accepted to the master of fine arts program in acting at the University of Wisconsin, one of five women accepted into that program.
  • Marci Dow, the stage manager, has been accepted to the internship program in stage management at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Santa Maria.

Also included in the cast is DuPratt's husband, CSUB alumnus and theater faculty Paul DuPratt, who plays Sir Toby Belch. Paul DuPratt graduated from CSUB in 1982. He earned a master of fine arts in acting at the California Institute of Arts and has worked professionally in Los Angeles.

"This is a very seasoned cast and I feel really good about that," Anita DuPratt said.

The cast is also working closely with Michael Flachmann, CSUB English professor and professional dramaturge for the Utah Shakespeare Festival. He is helping the cast understand the language of Shakespeare.

Theater faculty member Chris Eicher is designing the set and is also in charge of the lighting; Christine Blair is designing the costumes.

The curtain will rise Thursday-Saturday, May 18-20 and 25-27, at 8 p.m., and on Sunday, May 28, for a matinee at 2 p.m. General admission is $10; $5 for students with ID, and $8 for seniors and CSUB faculty and staff. For more information, please call DuPratt at (661) 654-3127.

Though retiring from CSUB, DuPratt will continue to stay involved with theater. She is also interested in getting involved with volunteer work, such as Habitat for Humanity or disaster relief projects. "Retirement is change; it's doing things you've always wanted to do," she said.

DuPratt received her bachelor's degree in theater at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1969. She entered the doctoral program at the University of Washington in 1972 and received her doctorate with a focus on 19th century British melodrama in 1978.

DuPratt has been active involved in local theatre, having directed plays at Bakersfield Community Theatre, Stars Dinner Theatre, The Melodrama, and Empty Space. She has also been involved with the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Her years of volunteer service garnered her the Gold Medallion for Excellence in Theatre Education.

DuPratt met her husband 21 years ago on campus. DuPratt and her husband are grandparents and would like to spend more time with their family, and retirement will allow that.

DuPratt has enjoyed her time at CSUB. "It has been exciting to be a part of the growth process and a program that is for growth and change," DuPratt said. "I have spent so much time here at CSUB, it has felt like a second home. "