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The Folger Spotlight

Louis Butelli: Taking Care of our Own

Louis Butelli (as Feste) and Tonya Beckman (as Maria) in Twelfth Night. Photo by Scott Suchman.

Louis Butelli (as Feste) and Tonya Beckman (as Maria) in Twelfth Night. Photo by Scott Suchman.

Hello again from your friend Louis Butelli, currently playing Feste in Folger Theatre’s fantastic production of Twelfth Night. Our show must close on June 9th, so make sure you get your tickets now – click here. The press has been great (click here and here), and the audiences have been phenomenal (click here), so come and see what all the fuss is about.

We’re having such fun running this show. This ensemble of actors is very, very tight, and it’s been a real thrill to see the play deepen and evolve. We learn something new every single night – the relationships grow more complex, the use of language becomes more facile and dexterous, the music continues to haunt and enchant. We’d love for you to come and experience Shakespeare’s great work with us. Get your tickets here.

Meanwhile, I wanted to talk to you briefly about theatreWashington’s initiative, “Taking Care of our Own.” TCOOO_header_3

Every year, the folks at theatreWashington bring the prestigious Helen Hayes Awards to the Washington DC area. With a mission, in part, to invigorate existing theatre audiences and develop audiences of the future, theatreWashington is a vibrant and vital part of the arts scene in the District and beyond.

Have a look at this from their website:

Washington’s theatre community is among the largest and most successful in the nation. More than 80 professional theatres and companies enliven the capital area, anchoring neighborhoods, fueling the regions’ economy, and producing work of the finest quality.

By building audiences, by introducing tens of thousands of area students to theatre, by promoting Washington across the nation as a vibrant cultural capital, and with the national and international significance of The Helen Hayes Awards, our organization has helped drive the continually tremendous growth of Washington theatre.

Louis Butelli (Feste the fool) and Emily Trask (Viola) in Twelfth Night at the Folger. Photo: Scott Suchman.

Louis Butelli (Feste the fool) and Emily Trask (Viola) in Twelfth Night at the Folger. Photo: Scott Suchman.

Folger Theatre and Twelfth Night recently partnered with theatreWashington to work on their special initiative, “Taking Care of our Own.” This program was born to meet a critical need in the community, assisting currently active Washington area theatre professionals and artists in personal emergency situations.

Every night after our curtain call, members of the ensemble participated in a “Bucket Brigade,” collecting donations from our excellent audiences as they left the theater. Thanks to you, Twelfth Night raised $6,087.98 for “Taking Care of our Own.” We are incredibly grateful, and incredibly proud. 

If you came to see our show on a night where we were not collecting, or if you would like to learn more and contribute something yourself, please, please, please click here to visit theatreWashington’s donation page.

OK! Thanks so much for reading, thanks so much for helping us to “Take Care of our Own,” and please… Click here now to grab your tickets for Twelfth Night!

Until next time!


In your earlier blog posts, you talked about researching the role of Feste, and how it had given you options for characterization. In response to a comment, you explained that “for me, the most enjoyable part of the research is becoming immersed in a community of people – artists, scholars, designers, critics, etc – who all love this play, and have for 400 years. This sense of connection is powerful, and reminds me that ‘community’ is what is unique about the theatrical art form.” In another blog post, you explained how audience members are “essentially, members of the cast, and a vital part of the performance.” But I think the audience needs to be invited, and just as Richard Willis truly used Chorus to sweep the Henry V audience into the action, your wonderful Feste lets the audience become part of Twelfth Night, like nothing I’ve seen before.

And now you bring it all together in explaining the importance of “taking care of our own.” Audience members contributed, I believe, because the Twelfth Night cast invited us to be one of you. With that connection, even just for a night, we are, in a sense, taking care of OUR own as well. So, thank you for letting us help.

Dawn Forsythe — May 24, 2013

What a lovely and insightful comment, Dawn! Thanks so much for your support – of the Folger, of the Production Diary, and of the grateful company of Twelfth Night. Your warmth and kindness makes us feel very loved.

All best as always,

Louis Butelli — May 25, 2013