Finished reading on 10/02/18
Like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night is one of those Shakespeare plays that has influenced Rom-coms centuries after its first performance. Although I found keeping track of who was dressed in disguise a little difficult this element of the play is so perfectly comedically timed and paced. After watching a performance, the Globe on Screen’s 2011 production, it really aided my perspective on the comedic elements of staging, space and conversation.
The 2011 Globe production made an amazing choice by having Stephen Fry as Malvolio. I’d love to see him play Sir Politic Would-Be from Volpone after that hilarious performance! He played the oblivious Malvolio perfectly, he really made me laugh. My favourite characters were Feste, Malvolio and Olivia. Each of them is so well written in their individuality highlighted by the comedic timing. As well as being hilarious, each of the characters has serious lines in the play too, for example, Malvolio exits the play in ‘revenge’…which somewhat disturbs the harmony in the scene. I feel Malvolio is a character that could easily be played as a ridiculous villain, but his character has so much more depth that productions have explored.
The final scene was magnificent. The way all of the characters hurry on stage and face hilarious shock (or anagnorisis if you’re being fancy), is just brilliant to watch. Realisation after realisation, the scene is timeless.
Overall, Twelfth Night is a great influential play packed with mockery and laughter, and I can’t wait to watch more productions and learn more about it in class, which I will post on my Shakespeare, Jonson & Co. module page!