Orsino, Duke of Illyria, declares his love for his neighbour, Countess Olivia, but his messenger tells him that she is in mourning for her dead brother and will not see any visitors for seven years.
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A shipwreck strands Viola on the shores of Illyria and she believes that her identical twin brother, Sebastian, is drowned. She persuades the captain of the ship to dress her as a man and present her as a servant to Orsino. Sir Toby Belch, Olivia's uncle, is criticised by the maid, Maria, for being drunk and upsetting the peace of his mourning niece but he takes no notice. Sir Andrew Aguecheek, a foolish knight, is persuaded to stay another month in the hope of persuading Olivia to marry him. He needs her money. Viola, disguised as a man and using the name Cesario, is now working for Orsino.
Feste, Olivia's jester, teases his mistress out of her sadness but Malvolio, her steward, does not find him funny. Viola dressed as Cesario meets Olivia and declares Orsino's love for her. Olivia immediately falls in love with the young 'man' and asks 'him' to come again. To make sure of a second visit, she sends Malvolio after Cesario with a ring, saying it is a gift from Orsino that she wishes to return.
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This confuses Cesario, who fears that Olivia has indeed fallen for her because she is dressed as a man. Sir Toby, Feste and Sir Andrew get very drunk and create a loud scene in the middle of the night. Malvolio comes down to remonstrate with them, but to no effect. Maria suggests a way in which the drinkers can get their own back. Hurt by Malvolio's earlier contempt and fearing that it might cost him his job, Feste plots with Sir Toby and Maria to disgrace Malvolio in front of Olivia. It is agreed that Maria will write a love letter to Malvolio which seems to come from Olivia and leave it where he cannot miss it.
In it, he is asked to wear yellow stockings, cross-gartered and to smile — three things which Olivia hates. They hide behind a hedge to see the effect of the letter. Malvolio is convinced that Olivia loves him and is determined to follow the letter's instructions. Viola's brother, Sebastian, arrives in Illyria, believing that his twin sister is drowned.
He is accompanied by a loving sailor, Antonio, who is risking his life because he is a wanted man in Illyria. Following the letter's instructions, Malvolio visits Olivia in yellow stockings and cross-gartered. Samuel Pepys thought it "a silly play", but saw it three times anyway during the period of his diary on 11 September , 6 January , and 20 January After holding the stage only in the adaptations in the late 17th century and early 18th century, the original Shakespearean text of Twelfth Night was revived in , in a production at Drury Lane.
In an operatic version by Frederic Reynolds was staged, with music composed by Henry Bishop. Influential productions were staged in , by Harley Granville-Barker , and in , at the Old Vic. The Old Vic Theatre was reopened in after suffering severe damage in the London Blitz in with a memorable production starring Peggy Ashcroft as Viola. It ran for performances, more than twice as long as any other Broadway production. A memorable production directed by Liviu Ciulei at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, October—November , was set in the context of an archetypal circus world, emphasising its convivial, carnival tone.
When the play was first performed, all female parts were played by men or boys, but it has been the practice for some centuries now to cast women or girls in the female parts in all plays. The company of Shakespeare's Globe , London, has produced many notable, highly popular all-male performances, and a highlight of their season was Twelfth Night , with the Globe's artistic director Mark Rylance playing the part of Olivia.
The same production was revived in —13 and transferred to sell-out runs in the West End and Broadway. Stephen Fry played Malvolio. It ran in repertory with Richard III. Interpretations of the role of Viola have been given by many well-renowned actresses in the latter half of the 20th century, and have been interpreted in the light of how far they allow the audience to experience the transgressions of stereotypical gender roles. In March , the Royal National Theatre 's production of Twelfth Night  changed some of the roles from male to female, including Feste, Fabian which became Fabia , and most notably, Malvolio — which became Malvolia — played by Tamsin Greig to largely positive reviews.
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Due to its themes such as young women seeking independence in a "man's world", "gender-bending" and "same-sex attraction" albeit in a roundabout way ,  there have been a number of re-workings for the stage, particularly in musical theatre, among them Your Own Thing , Music Is , All Shook Up , and Play On! Another adaptation is Illyria , by composer Pete Mills.
Theatre Grottesco created a modern version of the play from the point of view of the servants working for Duke Orsino and Lady Olivia. The adaptation takes a much deeper look at the issues of classism, and society without leadership. In , the play was adapted as Epiphany by the Takarazuka Revue , adding more overt commentary on the role of theatre and actors, as well as gender as applied to the stage made more layered by the fact that all roles in this production were played by women. There was a Australian film. Much of the comic material was downplayed into straightforward drama, and the film received some criticism for this.
It is set in a prep school named Illyria and incorporates the names of the play's major characters. The story was changed to revolve around the idea of soccer rivalry but the twisted character romance remained the same as the original. Viola , the main character, pretends to be her brother Sebastian , and a girl named Olivia falls in love with Viola as Sebastian. She also goes to a restaurant named "Cesario's". Two of Duke's Illyria soccer teammates are named Andrew and Toby. A nod is given to the omitted subplot by naming a briefly-onscreen tarantula Malvolio.
Sebastian's ex-girlfriend Monique was given the surname Valentine, and the meddling Malcolm was given the surname Festes. Shakespeare in Love contains several references to Twelfth Night. Shakespeare's love interest in the film, "Viola" Gwyneth Paltrow , is the daughter of a wealthy merchant who disguises herself as a boy to become an actor; while Shakespeare, a financially struggling playwright suffering from writer's block , is trying to write Romeo and Juliet. She is presented in the final scene of the film as William Shakespeare's "true" inspiration for the heroine of Twelfth Night.
In a nod to the shipwrecked opening of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night , the movie includes a scene where the character Viola, separated from her love by an arranged marriage and bound for the American colonies, survives a shipwreck and comes ashore to Virginia. On 14 May , the BBC Television Service in London broadcast a thirty-minute excerpt of the play, the first known instance of a work of Shakespeare being performed on television. Produced for the new medium by George More O'Ferrall , the production is also notable for having featured a young actress who would later go on to win an Academy Award — Greer Garson.
As the performance was transmitted live from the BBC's studios at Alexandra Palace and the technology to record television programmes did not at the time exist, no visual record survives other than still photographs. The entire play was produced for television in , directed by Michel Saint-Denis and starring another future Oscar-winner, Peggy Ashcroft.
In , another adaptation of the play was presented by NBC on U. This was the first color version ever produced on TV. In there was an Australian TV version. Yet another TV adaptation followed in A tele-movie adapted and directed by Tim Supple is set in the present day. Its portrayal of Viola and Sebastian's arrival in Illyria is reminiscent of news footage of asylum seekers.
An episode of the British series Skins , entitled Grace, featured the main characters playing Twelfth Night, with a love triangle between Franky, Liv and Matty, who respectively played Viola, Olivia and Orsino. There have been several full adaptations on BBC Radio. Nietzsche also refers passingly to Twelfth Night specifically, to Sir Andrew Aguecheek's suspicion, expressed in Act 1, Scene 3, that his excessive intake of beef is having an inverse effect on his wit in the third essay of his Genealogy of Morality.
Victoria Glendinning comments, in her introduction to the novel: "Sebastian is the boy-heir that Vita would like to have been Viola is very like the girl that Vita actually was. Cassandra Clare 's novel City of Glass contains chapter names inspired by quotations of Antonio and Sebastian.
Two of the dogs in the film Hotel for Dogs are twins called Sebastian and Viola. The Baker Street Irregulars believe Sherlock Holmes 's birthday to be January 6 due to the fact that Holmes quotes twice from Twelfth Night whereas he quotes only once from other Shakespeare plays. Elizabeth Hand 's novella Illyria features a high school production of Twelfth Night , containing many references to the play, especially Feste's song.
It is a story about a countess, a jester, and a bard who catch a fish that talks. As the play ends, they begin eating the fish. Many of the lines are parodies of Shakespeare. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
This article is about Shakespeare's play. For the holiday, see Twelfth Night holiday.
For other uses, see Twelfth Night disambiguation. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Shakespeare's Theatre. Shakespeare, having tackled the theatrical problems of providing Twelfth Night with effective musical interludes, found his attitude toward his material changed. An episodic story became in his mind a thing of dreams and themes. Studia Romanica et Anglica Zagrabiensia 17—18 : 21— Donno, Elizabeth Story ed. Twelfth night, or, What you will Updated ed.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Johannesburg: Johannesburg Times. A Shakespeare Companion — First ed. Harmondsworth: Penguin. New York: T. Cambridge University Press, , p. The Norton Shakespeare First ed. New York: W. Fall Shakespeare Bulletin. Retrieved 17 November Theatre Journal.