The happy couples make plans for their upcoming nuptial celebrations. Twelfth Night is probably my favorite play by William Shakespeare. It is certainly my favorite of his comedies. It is a marvelous contraption combining a shipwreck, mistaken identities, multiple love triangles, a gang of loonies, happy endings, and music. But there are also darker threads of horrific bullying and ruined lives.
In my mind, it is a beautiful party disguised as a play that goes bonkers. Anchoring this story, though, is our heroine, Viola: washed ashore in a strange land, uncertain of her future but fiercely determined to untangle her predicament and succeed. Her wits and improvisation skills are all she has. My way into this production of Twelfth Night came from two ideas: the sea and play. First, the sea. In the world of theatre magic where anything is possible, these are two things we cannot alter. Early on, I was inspired by the idea that Illyria is near the sea and what that represents: being born from the ocean and being borne by the ocean.
I knew I wanted to embrace the open-aired sky and energy of a summer evening in Boulder and to ensure that this seaside story would live in an outdoor world. Illyria is a fantastical place full of mischief. There are child-like qualities to this play: the flirting, the note passing, the music-making, the make-believe elements—and also the cruelty.
When the pranks and mischief go too far, the comedy swerves into territory that is unexpected, unsettling, and ultimately, very human. For many young people in our audience this summer, this will be the first Shakespeare play they have ever seen.
I welcome that responsibility. I want them to see how this marvelous contraption—this comedy of misrule—fractures into laughs, pathos, regret, reunion, marriage, heartbreak and joy. Twelfth Night was likely written for a court performance on Twelfth Night, a topsy-turvy celebration in which social order was temporarily suspended.
This upside-down holiday is not unique to Elizabethan England; throughout history, other cultures have established comparable traditions of wintertime misrule. Twelfth Night Jan. One seasonal tradition was a bean baked in a cake sometimes called the Twelfth Night cake. The lucky bean-finder became the Lord of Misrule and oversaw the Christmas festivities. In most noble households, a Lord of Misrule presided over a mock court, arranged for household entertainment, and was sometimes subjected to a mock execution. The roots of this type of wintertime social release can be traced to the ancient Roman Saturnalia, a December festival honoring the god Saturn.
An appointed leader organized the celebrations, which included role reversals a master and slave might swap roles , gift-giving, singing, gambling, decorating homes, dancing and candle-lighting. The Feast of Fools, established by the clergy in the 12th century, was a liturgical celebration held around Jan. A lord of the revels Dominus festi was appointed from the lower clergy to supervise the activities. During the Feast of Fools, the lord of the revels might deliver a mock mass in gibberish, clothes were worn backwards, and clergymen might dress as women.
During the Feast of Fools, the lord of the revels might deliver a mock mass in gibberish, clothes were worn backwards, and clergymen might dress as women. This liturgical festival was an opportunity for the church to playfully mock itself and embrace the temporary suspension of routine. By the early 15th century, the Feast of Fools fell out of favor with the church and largely dissolved. Why have cultures, from ancient Rome to Elizabethan England, felt compelled to release something when the temperature drops and turn the world on its head?
Or perhaps live theatre, with its role reversal, disguise and merriment, functions as yet another incarnation of festive release. As an audience, we have permission to get lost in the temporary madness, celebrate a fictional world, and finally, settle back into our world with a fresh perspective. View all cast. The University of Colorado is committed to providing equal access to individuals with disabilities. If you are planning to attend an event and require accommodations, please contact CU Presents no later than 7 days before the event at cupresents colorado.
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Colorado Shakespeare Festival's "Twelfth Night" Shines "There are unexpected moments of pleasure and surprise in this well-paced and well-acted evening directed by Orr. Why this play? Why here and now? Free and open to the public Learn more about Classics Free and open to the public Learn more about Outdoor Preshow Talks.
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SparkNotes: Twelfth Night
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Learn more about Shakespeare Gift Cart. Clown Apt, in good faith; very apt. Well, go thy way; if Sir Toby would leave drinking, thou wert as witty a piece of Eve's flesh as any in Illyria. Here comes my lady: make your excuse wisely, you were best.
The sea-coast. My stars shine darkly over me: the malignancy of my fate might perhaps distemper yours; therefore I shall crave of you your leave that I may bear my evils alone: it were a bad recompense for your love, to lay any of them on you. But I perceive in you so excellent a touch of modesty, that you will not extort from me what I am willing to keep in; therefore it charges me in manners the rather to express myself.
You must know of me then, Antonio, my name is Sebastian, which I called Roderigo. My father was that Sebastian of Messaline, whom I know you have heard of. He left behind him myself and a sister, both born in an hour: if the heavens had been pleased, would we had so ended!
SEBASTIAN A lady, sir, though it was said she much resembled me, was yet of many accounted beautiful: but, though I could not with such estimable wonder overfar believe that, yet thus far I will boldly publish her; she bore a mind that envy could not but call fair. She is drowned already, sir, with salt water, though I seem to drown her remembrance again with more.
Fare ye well at once: my bosom is full of kindness, and I am yet so near the manners of my mother, that upon the least occasion more mine eyes will tell tales of me. I am bound to the Count Orsino's court: farewell. She adds, moreover, that you should put your lord into a desperate assurance she will none of him: and one thing more, that you be never so hardy to come again in his affairs, unless it be to report your lord's taking of this. Receive it so.
FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY
MALVOLIO Come, sir, you peevishly threw it to her; and her will is, it should be so returned: if it be worth stooping for, there it lies in your eye; if not, be it his that finds it. To be up after midnight and to go to bed then, is early: so that to go to bed after midnight is to go to bed betimes. Does not our life consist of the four elements? Marian, I say! Enter Clown.
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Now, good morrow, friends. Now, good Cesario, but that piece of song, That old and antique song we heard last night: Methought it did relieve my passion much, More than light airs and recollected terms Of these most brisk and giddy-paced times: Come, but one verse. He is about the house. Music plays. Clown No, sir, I live by the church. Clown No such matter, sir: I do live by the church; for I do live at my house, and my house doth stand by the church.
VIOLA So thou mayst say, the king lies by a beggar, if a beggar dwell near him; or, the church stands by thy tabour, if thy tabour stand by the church.
Clown You have said, sir. To see this age! A sentence is but a cheveril glove to a good wit: how quickly the wrong side may be turned outward! Clown I would, therefore, my sister had had no name, sir. Clown Why, sir, her name's a word; and to dally with that word might make my sister wanton. But indeed words are very rascals since bonds disgraced them.
Clown Troth, sir, I can yield you none without words; and words are grown so false, I am loath to prove reason with them. Clown Not so, sir, I do care for something; but in my conscience, sir, I do not care for you: if that be to care for nothing, sir, I would it would make you invisible.
Clown No, indeed, sir; the Lady Olivia has no folly: she will keep no fool, sir, till she be married; and fools are as like husbands as pilchards are to herrings; the husband's the bigger: I am indeed not her fool, but her corrupter of words.