There seems a number of loose ends (from our modern perspective, anyway) that might need explaining in Shakespeare’s text of Twelfth Night. Here’s some of them from Act 1:
Aristocratic Servant? – When Viola introduces her background as Cesario to Olivia, she makes reference to her noble birth. One might wonder, why would a well-born child be a servant? According to Schalkwyk, it turns out that this is actually fairly common in those days, when over 60% of young people (ages 16 to 24) worked as servants; moreover, the children of noble often worked as servants of other nobles. This might be one of those complex social hierarchies that simply became lost to us modern folks, similar to real feudalism. My conjecture is that this exchange could also be practical, perhaps due to financial reasons; not all nobles are equally wealthy, and some might not even be able to clothe or feed their children “sufficiently aristocratically;” by obligation, the noble the serving noble child serves would have to treat him or her at a certain level (dress them appropriately, feed them, etc.), and so, it is almost like a sort of service-paid boarding school for aristocratic parents who simply can’t take care of their children to send them off to…
Is Toby purely manipulating Andrew? – In my interpretation, Toby’s “characteristic cruelness” to Andrew isn’t quite present in Act 1 — it seems that Toby might have a bit of Aspergers, and Andrew is truly one of his only friends (though he also sees Andrew as useful for… other imports relating to his ducats). We always have both Toby and Andrew dancing out to close Act 1, Scene 3, because those two are really having a merry time, and Toby has actually cheered himself up, while trying to cheer Andrew up (with only the slightest undertone that his ducats are the reason). Moreover, women do not find themselves drawn to manipulative men, at least not in the initial stages of love, and if Maria’s romantic fondness for Toby were to begin in Act 1 (rather than in backstory), it’d make sense that, though cynical in her apparent evaluation, Maria sees some sort of compassion from the Toby-Andrew relationship, that her female intuition picks up as a need for like-companionship.
Orsino an “Opera-Love”? – Opera often presents love in a way such that love exists only in “the music”, the “spur of the moment,” which seems very similar to Orsino’s take on love. Fidelity in love is a valiant theme in opera, through which some protagonists might even die for, and yet, it seems Orsino’s “love” is as fleeting as the fullness of the music in the air. First Olivia, then Cesario, though homosexuality keeps him back, and eventually Viola. In our 2008 productions (SR1 and AP1), Orsino is presented as old royalty, who perhaps wishes to retire to be able to “be in love all the time,” to revive youthful feelings; in our 2009 production (OEP1), Orsino looks younger, more foolish, and even innocent enough to be in love with an idea. Though the older-looking Orsino might be the type who would be determined to have the heart of one woman, the younger one — youth is all about change — might just simply want the feeling of love, caring not for whom he is in love with, as long as he can be in love.
Of Money$ and Penuriousne$$ in Act 1 – It seems Act 1 opens with opulence–Orsino in his court, filled with bouquets ($$$) and musicians ($$$) and luxuries ($$$$$), with hunting expeditions ($$$$$), and servants ($$), and there’s so little for him to do (Illyria is so totally booming and flowing with money, and everyone’s already doing everything), that all he can do is fall helplessly in love with the concept of love itself. And next scene, we have the natural-hazards equivalent of the spike leading to an economic depression, a stock market crash–a shipwreck. A noblewoman loses her family, and is forced to pay a sailor (trader) to gain safe passage into a new land (market). She invests what little she has in a new career, a new beginning, an optimistic rebuilding-attitude to financial loss. Contrast this with Scene 3, where it appears Toby spends his time in revelry partly to put away the more responsible thoughts of earning a living, and to swindle his friend Andrew, into “bringing in” ever more ducats. Viola, though, is still young enough to switch genders to pass for an eunuch and aristocratic servant, unlike Toby in our 2009 production (OEP1), is a middle-aged man, far too old to be an aristocratic servant (though, Toby in our 2008 AP1 production is actually physically a teenager). Both Toby and Viola treat money as a means to an end; Toby, to revelry, and Viola, to be able to make her way in Illyria. And yet, Viola has principles regarding how she’d take money, as seen in Scene 5, where she openly (even rudely) rejects Olivia’s offer of coin. Though her heart pains at the prospect, Viola tries her best in doing her job, which is to try wooing Olivia on Orsino’s behalf. When it backfires, and she feels as if used, she simply stalks away–honorably–as what else can a poor aristocratic servant do?
Back for ONE HOUR ONLY, encore performance of SL Shakespeare Company‘s April Fools Multi-Parody SUPER SPOOF 2009 – that parodizes some of the memorable pop culture icons in 2008, while analogizing them to characters from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Act 1:
As mentioned a while ago, we’re going to try a couple of Variations to Twelfth Night. We already tried the “Popular-Culture-Analogues-Edition” on April Fools Night, and now we’re trying the GENDER BENDER, i.e., a Switched-Gender-”Analogues” Edition of Twelfth Night! 6 PM, tonight the 14th! The casting goes like this (Recall that Mokey usually plays Viola, Kerry plays Olivia, Caliban plays Orsino, Captain, Toby, and Malvolio, and Ixmal plays Valentine, Andrew, and Feste):
Scene 1 -
Caliban: Viola (as Cesario)
Scene 5 -
slightly shortened version -
** Maria only has her Feste/Maria lines in the opening (she doesn’t
do the hoist sail sir, and calls from backstage her announcement of
Cesario) – no Toby entrance in S5!
Kerry: Malvolio Caliban: Viola (as Cesario)
Ixmal: Maria (the opening part only) & Olivia
For those who’ve seen a vanilla performance of our current Open-Ended Run (if not, do drop by on Sundays @ 1 PM PT), one of the things you might note is the meticulous analysis that was put into creating the dramatic interpretation behind the acting. Methods in directing on the virtual theatrical stage vary–but, I prefer it such that the character’s personality can be cogently presented through voice only, and the rest, the visual adornments, merely help embellish the role.
Here’s the story… of a lovely cast set… where everyone can let you take photos and go wow!
Really, quite seriously–for the first time ever–the SL Shakespeare Company will be unleashing our avatars, standing still, on a single sim for you to take photos of–as part of our Koinup Photo Contest, with over L$100,000 in prizes! If you’re new to avatar photography or would like to learn more about it, we’ll also have the legendary photographer Ryker Beck to kick off the event with a photography tutorial.
The Super Spoof plays @ 5 PM on April 1. ONE DAY ONLY. We are going to multi-parody a whole bunch of things from 2008, and see if they flow with Twelfth Night–that is, this is our “Twelfth Night – Popular Culture Analogues” Edition.
Everything summarized by the playbill above. Please feel free to link. This is a strictly unofficial fan production; our SPOOF-esque version of Twelfth Night just for April Fools Day 2009 – join us at the SL Globe Theatre at 5 PM PST (GMT-8).
This is a fun weekend of conferences–with the SL Shakespeare Company @ both NAST and VWBPE!
Sean Kelley (Kyler McCullough from SLSC MP2 Hamlet) brought his laptop to the Case Studies/Tech session at the NAST Conference in Chicago. With SL connected to the big screen in the ballroom, we did a sort of minimal-setup “mixed reality event,” where he flew around the Globe Theatre, gave me the mic — and I went ahead and did a lightning fast 10 minute presentation that both introduced the SLSC and also virtual worlds/virtual theatre (to an audience not familiar with the medium). Conference Slides are below:
Although our main canon of Twelfth Night is set in the “generic past,” this particular production of “Actus Primus, Scoena Tertia (Act 1, Scene 3)” is set in the Elizabethan era… from costumes to theatre to skin. (Yup! Maria has stubble – she’s played by a guy!)
With this light offshoot from our main production, we introduce a new branch of the SL Shakespeare Company, the SL Shakespeare Repertory Players… in this first performance in the Blackfriars Theatre – bare stage, as the Elizabethans might have done it – and with a dog hidden behind a column on stage left o.O.