There are a lot of Shakespeare-focused companies in D.C. but only 38 Shakespeare plays to go around, so theaters will often overlap, producing the same show in the same season as one of their competitors. Tonya Beckman is living proof: A company member at Taffety Punk and a regular on other local stages, she is starring in two different productions of “Twelfth Night,” playing two different roles.
How did this happen?
We [at Taffety Punk] knew we were going to do “Twelfth Night” [with Beckman as Countess Olivia]. And before finding out any details, I was cast as [Olivia’s maid] Maria in the Folger [Theatre] production. I’ll have a month after we close this production before we start rehearsals at Folger — so a month to unlearn everything.
And were you excited?
My first reaction was, “That’s so weird.” But then it started to really appeal to me, to take what will be two very different productions and different characters but the same text and do them back-to-back.
Are you worried about stealing bits from the woman playing Maria in Taffety’s production, since you’ll be playing Maria in a few months?
There have been moments where I’ve watched Jennifer [Hopkins], who plays Maria in this production, rehearsing her scenes, and I think, “Oooh, remember that!” It’s only stealing if it’s not good, right?