Archive for the ‘Director’s Notes’ Category


mShakespeare April Fools Super Spoof 2010

   Posted by: Ina Centaur Tags: , , , ,

mShakespeare SUPER SPOOF April Fools Special 2010

mShakespeare April Fools Super Spoof 2010 parodizes in a wild *totally* unofficial MultiParody some of the memorable pop culture icons in 2009, while analogizing them to characters from the Metaverse Shakespeare Company’s current open-ended run of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Act 2.

Scene 1: Edward is Jacob afore Illyria… with Antonio played by Bella Swan as “Bella Antonio” and Sebastian played by Edward Cullen as “Edward Sebastian” — who confuses Bella by admitting his name wasn’t Rodorigo or Edward, but is actually Jacob, and then leaves her to wander like a lost vampire in Illyria. In this New Moon prologue spin-off, Bella goes after him!
Scene 2: AVATAR @ Olivia’s… with Malvolio played by the Na’vi Neytiri and Viola, the envoy, played by Jake Sully… in SL 3D!!! zOMG!™
Scene 3: Southpark Shakespeare Setup… with Sir Toby Belch played by Stan Marsh as “Sir Toby Stan”; Feste played by Butters Stotch as “Feste Butters”; Maria played by Shelley Marsh as “Shelley Maria”; Malvolio played by Eric Cartman as “Cartman Malvolio”; and Sir Andrew Aguecheek played by Kenny McCormick as “Sir Kenny Andrew”
Scene 4: New Moon in Bella’s Court… with Orsino played by Bella as, who has somehow managed to become duke of Illyria in her ill-begotten pursuit of the merely extravagant Edward… or, perchance, Viola played by Edward as “Edola”
Scene 5: Southpark Shakespearean Idol… with cast as in Scene 3, but this time, our trout farts and swears and lapses from modern vernacular into Shakespearean when he steps into light of the haunted Shakespearean Idol platform…

Free show; seating is first come first to squat. ;-)
Be there early! Thursday, April 1 @ 5 PM at the SL Globe Theatre

P.S. The Na’vi Neytiri, Human Jake Sully, and all Southpark avatars shown in the poster above will be given away for free at the event! Come for the show, go home with memorable freebies!


Patience on a Monument

   Posted by: Ina Centaur Tags: , , ,

In Twelfth Night, Act 2, Scene 4, in response’s to Orsino’s arrogant assertions that a woman’s love cannot be as great as the love of a man’s, Viola tries conveying the unrequited love a woman might have for a man. The mention of “patience on a monument” deserves some visual cues, so I’d zoom in directly on the line that mentions this motif in context (you can see the rest of my analysis of Viola’s lines to Orsino in Scene 4 here).

A blank, my lord. She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i’ the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought,
She sat like patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?

The mention of “patience on a monument” seems as out of place as the “worm i’the bud”, so it seems natural that Viola’s character might have “taken inspiration” via an item on the set.

louisxiifortitude Full page photo “Patience on a Monument” is often a sculpture on the tombs of kings, most famously seen in Louis XII’s tomb (as noted in Heckscher, William S. “Shakespeare in His Relationship to the Visual Arts: A Study in Paradox”. Research Opportunities in Renaissance Drama. 13-14 (1970-71). Eds. Schoenbaum, S. pp 40). The two images cited here both show a seated woman in “patient grief” (for the lack of a better phrase). A woman chained, whether to a windowsill (to pine forever, for the rest of her life), or a woman chained to a pole–as more poignantly shown in that St. Denis tomb of Louis XII’s, whose figure is also turned in a pose that shows both strain from and desire to leave this post, and yet, she cannot.

More imagery of Louis XII‘s tomb is available here and here and here and here, specifically on that sculpture of the cardinal virtue of Patience here and here. A closeup showing sculpture texture is here.

As mentioned in my director’s notes, it might be because the Duke has a statue reminiscent of such imagery, in his court. Or, it might be because Viola had just sauntered through Olivia’s Garden, as emissary to Olivia from Orsiino (and back again)–having seen the stylized “guardian sculpture” on the grave of Olivia’s late brother.


OEP2 Twelfth Night, Act 2 – Playscript

   Posted by: Ina Centaur

The earlier post on the AP2 playscript is actually slightly flawed–done in haste, prior to a full close-reading. Here’s the actually updated *good* playscript–with most of the blocking we’d use, and more! pdf here and celtx here.

Analysis aside, here are some neat effects and such to look for:

Continuing our tradition of introducing a new technological innovation with each show —

  • we will showcase physically accurate effects onstage…
    • whizzing urine a la Sir Toby Belch;
    • classic apple physics, but with a bout of booze, a broadsword and a bit of bondage…
    • on-stage a flower whose petals slowly fall, even as it wilts
  • a grandiose shadow AO – befitting a self-smitten Malvolio;
  • avatar shape changes during a show to vividly change expressions
  • and, moving hair! – in Scene 4, Orsino’s hair turns skittish, as it blows/moves in the sea wind.

That and more, all revealed in the playscript above! For further details, see my Director’s Notes.


Act 2, Scene 5: Fabian, Toby, Andrew, Maria

   Posted by: Ina Centaur Tags: , , ,

This is Part III of several Director’s Notes blog entries on Twelfth Night: Act 2, Scene 5.

The Sophy refers to the Shah of Persia, who is plentiful rich, and might be one of the few people the Elizabethans all know who can afford to “pay a pension of thousands” (as opposed to trade in buildings and land, as the budget-cut English monarchy had been resorting to. read: real payment!). Toby’s totally delighted, and Andrew, too (though, he just echos Toby):

Fabian: I will not give my part of this sport for a pension of thousands to be paid from the Sophy.
Toby: I could marry this wench for this device.
Andrew: So could I too.
Toby: And ask no other dowry with her, but such another jest.
Andrew: Nor I neither.

Maria returns — after the spectacle with the tree guys behind the boxtree, and Malvolio giving his ego-solo.

Fabian seems the only one who still has his wits about him. Toby and Andrew are head over heels in awe of Maria, Toby even asking if Maria would let him kiss her foot, or become her slave:

Fabian: Here comes my noble gull catcher.
Toby: Wilt thou let thy foot o’my neck?
Andrew: Or o’mine either?
Toby: Shall I play my freedom at tray-trip, and become thy bondslave?
Andrew: I’faith, or I either?

Toby continues speculating on Malvolio, saying that if Malvolio is so deep in his delusions, he’d go crazy when he finds the truth. Maria, perhaps still holding her breath on whether it’d worked, finally asks the direct question. Toby assures her, that it’s worked precisely and perfectly:

Toby: Why, thou hast put him in such a dream, that when the image of it leaves him, he must run mad.
Maria: Nay but say true, do’s it work upon him?
Toby: Like Aqua vitae with a Midwife.

Maria, now assured of how badly Malvolio’s fallen, reveals the full evilness of her plan:

Maria: If you will then see the fruits of the sport, mark his first approach before my Lady: he will come to her in yellow stockings, and ’tis a colour she abhors, and cross garter’d, a fashion she detests: and he will smile upon her, which will now be so unsuitable to her disposition, being addicted to a melancholy, as she is, that it cannot but turn him into a notable contempt: if you will see it follow me.

Toby is now giddiy with wild abandon, raging about going to the gates of hell. The trio follow her out, with Andrew loitering just slightly behind, still confused, but giving the last word:

Toby: To the gates of Tarter, thou most excellent devil of wit.
Andrew: I’ll make one too.

This is Part II of several Director’s Notes blog entries on Twelfth Night: Act 2, Scene 5.

This scene is like to a sort of “play within a play,” although it’s a “real event” within the world of this play–but, for this spectacle, Malvolio’s the actor, and the other, willing and comment-eager audience.

Malvolio enters–beautifully, with a prancing shadow AO, and thinking that Maria fancies him:

Malvolio: ‘Tis but Fortune, all is fortune. Maria once told me she did affect me, and I have heard herself come thus near, that, should she fancy, it should be one of my complexion. Besides she view me with a more exalted respect than anyone else that follows her. What should I think on’t?

Toby betrays his first explicit sign of affinity towards Maria–jealousy that Malvolio would view Maria suchly:

Toby: Here’s an overweening rogue.

I imagine Toby might actually draw sword (or, in our “archetypal production“, a historical pistol).

Fabian seems to be the guy who will maintain peace among the trio; he tells Toby to chill:

Fabian: Oh peace: Contemplation makes a rare Turkey Cock of him, how he lets under his advanc’d plumes.

Andrew, displays his characteristic valor (which, in later scenes, we’d find is mere bravado–words, words, words but he’s really a chicken inside):

Andrew: Slight, I could so beat the Rogue.

Of course, when Andrew (the “lesser knight”) joins in the violence-threats, Toby’s the one who goes, “Calm down!” (but, perhaps, Andrew is also pulling for a grab at Toby’s pistol):

Toby: Peace I say.

count vs steward malvolio

Even before getting that letter, it seem as if Malvolio is set for this perfect duping–he’s already deep in that booby-trap of unwarranted arrogance:

Malvolio: To be Count Malvolio.

I imagine Toby is holding the gun *away* from Andrew, and Andrew is insistent that he shoots:

Toby: Ah, Rogue.
Andrew: Pistol him, pistol him!

Toby might even put his pistol away (or get a better, more concentrated aim at Malvolio), as he tells Andrew to shut up:

Toby: Peace, peace.

Malvolio has some sort of class-crossing epiphany, as he cites the marriage of the “Lady of the Strachys” with a mere yeoman (Lady of the Starchys was a prominent patron of the Blackfriars Theatre, and she married the yeoman wardrobes-keeper of the Blackfriars):

Malvolio: There is example for’t: The Lady of the Strachy, married the yeoman of the wardrobe.

Andrew, apparently, greatly disapproves of such class-crossings, curses to Jezebel, that yeoman of the wardrobe:

Andrew: Fie on him, Jezabel.

At this point, it becomes evident that the boxtree-hidden trio’s conversation isn’t just an aside, but actually a part of the script–Fabian cues in Malvolio’s full immersion in delusion:

Fabian: O peace, now he’s deeply in: look how imagination blows him.
Malvolio: Having been three months married to her, fitting in my state.

Elizabethan-pistols were not known for accuracy, so I suppose slingshots and such are preferred for precision:

Toby: O for a stone-bow to hit him in the eye.

For a Puritan, Malvolio certainly doesn’t believe in thriftiness or even celibacy (then again, maybe he means to only tuck his lady in):

Malvolio: Calling my Officers about me, in my branch’d Velvet gown: having come from a daybed, where I have left Olivia sleeping.

Malvolio would be turned, away from the boxtree. Toby might even rise up, losing cover of the box-tree, completely outraged, gun drawn and ready to shoot:

Toby: Fire and Brimstone!

Tortured, Fabian would pull Toby back down to hiding:

Fabian: Oh peace, peace.

Fabian braces for the next line, his arms, the shackles holding the furious Toby down:

Malvolio: And then to have the humor of state: and after a demure travaile of regard: telling them I know my place, as I would they should do theirs: to ask for my kinsman Toby.
Toby: Bolts and shackles.

Fabian, perhaps just slightly fearful that he might be caught again, prays:

Fabian: Oh peace, peace, peace, now, now.

Malvolio is kind of quintessentially prissy-at-heart–he’d have seven people go after Toby, while Malvolio himself frowns and dallies, winding up his watch or playing with some other object of amusement:

Malvolio: Seven of my people with an obedient start make out for him: I frown the while, and perchance wind up my watch, or play with my–some rich Jewell: Toby approaches; curtsies to me.

Toby, fighting in Fabian’s stranglehold:

Toby: Shall this fellow live?

According to Penguin (Mahood), Fabian basically says the era-equivalent of “Wild horses wouldn’t draw it out of me”–with chariots (cars):

Fabian: Though our silence be drawn from us with cars, yet peace.

You can almost see it–Malvolio smiling that annoying expression (as seen in an upcoming OEP2 playbill), fading to an evil expression (or, see the raw snapshot of our current steward juxtaposed next to a sinister-ish “Count Malvolio”). And, hearing that, Toby’s fist has just broken free of Fabian’s stranglehold:

Malvolio: I extend my hand to him thus: quenching my familiar smile with an austere regard of control–
Toby: And do’s not Toby take you a blow o’the lips, then?

Malvolio seems to really lose it here, that light touch with reality, “By virtue of my luck of having become married to your niece, I now have the right to say this to you.”

Malvolio: Saying, “Cousin Toby, my Fortunes having cast me on your Niece, give me this prerogative of speech.”

I imagine Fabian, completely bewildered by this unexpected wildness, loses his hold on Toby. Toby is also astounded by Malvolio’s great leap of faith–all that power, from a single marriage:

Toby: What, what?

Malvolio, facing away from the boxtree, again:

Malvolio: “You must amend your drunkenness.”

Toby gets up to try to take a swing at Malvolio; Fabian pulls him back down, trying to reason with him:

Toby: Out scab!
Fabian: Nay patience, or we break the sinews of our plot?

Malvolio waxes on the grandiose, “the treasure of Sir Toby’s time”:

Malvolio: “Besides you waste the treasure of your time, with a foolish knight.”

This bit is just classic funny to me:

Andrew: That’s me, I warrant you.
Malvolio: “One Sir Andrew–”
Andrew: I knew ’twas I, for many do call me fool.

Finally, Malvolio looks down–perhaps at his shadow–to spot the letter, picks it up:

Malvolio: What employment have we here?

The trio hiding behind the boxtree are really a knavish audience, each taking turns poking at the other to “shut up”, while Fabian takes his glory in introducing the cues:

Fabian: Now is the Woodcock near the gin.
Toby: Oh peace, and the spirit of humors intimate reading aloud to him.

I imagine that Malvolio has already torn the envelope open by now (in haste, as if a rowdy birthday boy, throwing the envelope on the ground), in order to see the full range of letters (her C’s, U’s, and T’s–Elizabethan slang for vagina, or cunt sans n, clearly echos Malvolio’s subconscious licentiousness):

Malvolio: By my life this is my Lady’s hand: these be her very C’s, her U’s, and her T’s, and thus makes she her great P’s. It is in contempt of question her hand.

Andrew, always the odd person out in double entendres:

Andrew: Her C’s, her U’s, and her T’s: why that?

msc props design collection - seal of lucrece liberty

Malvolio is reading the letter’s opening line carefully. And then he goes back to the envelope, notices the wax, announces that he will call the authenticity of the letter “by your leave wax”. Carefully, he bends down to look at the envelope, sees the imprint of Lucrece–takes that as the affirmation to be from her lady:

Malvolio: “To the unknown belov’d, this, and my good Wishes” — Her very Phrases… By your leave wax. Soft, and the impressure her Lucrece, with which she uses to seal: t’is my Lady – to whom should this be?

Fabian sounds almost impertinent, but since Orsino has mentioned liver in the context of infatuation several times earlier, Fabian might deliver this line with both humor and vigor:

Fabian: This wins him, Liver and all.

Malvolio reads the opening riddle of the letter (a rather coarse rhyme that just seems so ridiculous — seems more fit if uttered by a high-pitched echoing female voice):

Jove knows I love,
But who?
Lips, do not move;
No man must know.

Delightfully, Malvolio continues thinking aloud:

Malvolio: “No man must know.” What follows? The numbers alter’d: “No man must know,” If this should be thee, Malvolio?

In jest, Toby wonders along with Malvolio:

Toby: Marry, hang thee brock.

In The Rape of Lucrece, Lucrece dagger-kills herself (due to shame, and such romantic/era reasoning), after being raped (albeit by royalty); her death galvanized her people to fight for the Republic of Rome. The cryptic message in this letter thus refers to how the supposed-writer’s heart is stabbed “with bloodless stroke”, as if by a self-imposed knife (“a Lucrece knife”), by its silent yearning, for M.O.A.I., which “doth sway her life”:

I may command where I adore,
But silence, like a Lucrece knife:
With bloodless stroke
My heart doth grow,
M.O.A.I. doth sway my life.

Fabian, always, the avid commentator:

Fabian: A fustian riddle.

Toby’s got it:

Toby: Excellent Wench, say I!

Malvolio closes in precisely on the bait:

Malvolio: “M.O.A.I. doth sway my life.” Nay but first let me see, let me see, let me see.

Fabian and Toby exchange commentator jests:

Fabian: What dish o’ poison has she dreft him?
Toby: And with what wing the Stallion checks at it?

Malvolio interprets the first line of the “fustian riddle” to be “I command the man whom I love”, implying that he must be one of her servants. He thinks that’s obvious, or “evident to any formal capacity.” There’s no ambiguity (“not dark”) in this, “there is no obstruction in this.” And then he goes to the end of the letter, the acronym, that “alphabetical position”–he asks himself if he could read that as something that resembles himself?

Malvolio: “I may command, where I adore.” Why she may command me: I serve her, she is my Lady. Why this is evident to any formal capacity. There is no obstruction in this! And the end: What should that Alphabetical position portend… if I could make that resemble something in me? Softly, “M.O.A.I.”

Toby thinks Malvolio’s lost the bait–Fabian, though, thinks the bait can’t be missed, it smells “as rank as a Fox”:

Toby: O, aye, make up that, he is now at a cold scent.
Fabian: Sowter will cry upon’t for all this, though it be as rank as a Fox.

And, magic!:

Malvolio: “M. Malvolio, M.” — Why that begins my name.

Almost as if he’d just placed a verbal bet on this bear of a Mal:

Fabian: Did I not say he would work it out, the Cur is excellent at faults.

Malvolio: “M.” But then there is no consonancy in the sequel that suffers under probation: “A.” should follow, but “O.” does.

The commentators seem to join him in deduction, though Malvolio doesn’t hear them:

Fabian: And O shall end, I hope.
Toby: Aye, or I’ll cudgel him, and make him cry O.
Malvolio: And then “I” comes behind.
Fabian: Aye, and you had an “I” behind you, you might see more detraction at your heels, than Fortunes before you.

Fabian puns on “eye” and “I”, almost as he wishes the trio to be given away, to be “credited”.

Malvolio then gives that famous MOAI reading (which is surprisingly understandable to a modern audience even without further interpretation), following its directions as-if-hypnotized (taking a “spin” upon reading “revolve”). The letter deviously builds up on his aspirations, as well as his current want-to-do-list, and even ends with a threat that if he doesn’t do otherwise, he’d stay a steward, “the fellow of servants”:

Malvolio: M.O.A.I. This simulation is not as the former: and yet to crush this a little, it would bow to me, for every one of these Letters are in my name. Soft, here follows prose: “If this fall into thy hand, revolve. In my stars, I am above thee, but be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em. Thy fates open their hands; let thy blood and spirit embrace them, and to inure thyself to what thou art like to be — cast thy humble slough, and appear fresh. Be opposite with a kinsman, surly with servants: Let thy tongue tang arguments of state; put thyself into the trick of singularity. She thus advises thee, that sighs for thee. Remember who commended thy yellow stockings, and wish’d to see thee ever cross garter’d: I say remember. Go to, thou art made if thou desir’st to be so: If not, let me see thee a steward still, the fellow of servants, and not worthy to touch Fortune’s fingers. Farewell, she that would alter services with thee, that fortunate unhappy.”

Malvolio’s reaction is the best that can be had–he even admits he’d be “point-device”, i.e., the very man described in the letter, to perfection:

Malvolio: Daylight and champaign discovers not more! This is open… I will be proud, I will read politic Authors, I will baffle Sir Toby, I will wash off gross acquaintance, I will be point-device, the very man. I do not now fool myself, to let imagination jade me; for every reason excites to this, that my Lady loves me. She did commend my yellow stockings of late, she did praise my legs being crossgarter’d, and in this she manifests herself to my love, and with a kind of iniuntion drives me to these habits of her liking. I thank my stars, I am happy: I will be strange, stour, in yellow stockings, and cross Garter’d, even with the swiftness of putting on. Jove, and my stars be praised. Here is yet a postscript. “Thou canst not choose but know who I am. If thou entertainst my love, let it appear in thy smiling–thy smiles become thee well. Therefore in my presence still smile, dear my sweet, I prithee.” Jove, I thank thee, I will smile, I will do everything that thou wilt have me.

Already starting to smile, Malvolio exits.

It’s curious to note that Malvolio’s “inner self” seems completely removed from his outer persona of the goody-Puritan; Malvolio’s malady is that of the hypocrisy of schisms–if he truly believes in the principles he tries to act, he wouldn’t have been the victim (he wouldn’t have taken the bait!–would have reported this letter direct to Olivia, caused a few raised eyebrows, and that’s all). But then, maybe it’s fundamental human nature that “Puritan-types” are just an act, and so it’s inevitable that Malvolio falls for this trick.


Act 2, Scene 5: Fabian, Toby, Andrew, Maria

   Posted by: Ina Centaur Tags: , , ,

Act 2, Scene 5, set in Olivia’s Garden, is the famous “M.O.A.I.” scene where Maria shows her wiles, and Malvolio betrays his not-so-puritanical ego. This is Part I of several Director’s Notes blog entries on Twelfth Night: Act 2, Scene 5.

Curiously, Feste completely skips this scene, perhaps because the old fool is more accustomed to nocturnal hours (when there’s likelier to be sixpence for his songs), or is just generally only haphazardly present (thus warranting Maria’s reprimanding words in the brief exchange between Feste and Maria in the opening of Act 1, Scene 5)–anyway, instead of Feste, we have Fabian, a gentleman servant of Olivia’s, with a penchant for bear-baiting (and, who has a grudge towards Malvolio, for getting him in trouble for staging a bear-baiting in Olivia’s garden). Fabian opens Scene 5 with an era-joke about being “boil’d to death by Melancholy (thought by era “medical science” to be a cold humour)”:

Toby: Come thy ways, Signior Fabian.
Fabian: Nah, I’ll come: if I lose a scruple of this sport, let me be boil’d to death with Melancholy.
Toby: Wouldst thou not be glad to have the niggardly Rascally sheep-biter, come by some notable shame?

Then again, perhaps Feste isn’t present in this scene is due to his intuitive sense of tact (Shakespeare’s fools always seem to have that extra bit of wisdom, quintessentially lacking in his star characters)–it’s a scene where the perpetrators could very-well be caught in their deed to render some “notable shame” to their common enemy.

Fabian: I would exult man: you know he brought me out of favour with my Lady, about a Bear-baiting here.

Toby: To anger him we’ll have the Bear again, and we will fool him black and blue, shall we not, Sir Andrew?

Andrew: And we do not, it is pity of our lives.

Like the others, Fabian’s here, having been slighted by Malvolio. Malvolio tattled on Fabian for holding a bear-baiting session in Olivia’s garden (this is rather something *no one wants!* in their backyard — aside from the damage from the animal slaughter, there’d be massive cleanup from the refuse left by the raucous audience such events draw–completely unseemly!); this suggests that Olivia’s garden is large, and that she might be something of a menagerie. (Our OEP2 set will contain quite a few animals.)

Toby seems more feisty and violent than usual, alluding to beating Malvolio “black and blue” after just a few words, and even calling Maria, his “Metal of India (gold)”, a villain (though this might be a term of endearment of sorts).

Maria enters the garden, perhaps breathless, Malvolio being so close behind her:

Toby: Here comes the little villain: how now, my Metal of India?
Maria: Get ye all three into the box tree!

The three men duck behind the boxtree, while Maria throws the letter, for the “trout that must be caught with tickling”:

Maria: Malvolio’s coming down this walk; he has been yonder i’the Sun practicing behavior to his own shadow this half hour. Observe him for the love of Mockery: for I know this Letter will make a contemplate Idiot of him. Close, in the name of jesting, lye thou there! For here comes the Trout, that must be caught with tickling.

Maria, curiously, leaves. (Perhaps this task of tricking a steward is too coarse for a lady, or Maria would rather not be present to “jinx her plot”, or maybe Shakespeare anticipated emergency doubling’s.)


Act 2, Scene 4: Orsino, Viola Reprise

   Posted by: Ina Centaur Tags: ,

This is Part III of my Director’s Notes to Twelfth Night, Act 2, Scene 4.

After Feste’s exit, Orsino decides that he’s had enough of everyone, dismisses everyone but the main nuncio of the theme–

Orsino: Let all the rest give place: Once more, Cesario,
Get thee to yond same sovereign cruelty:
Tell her my love more noble than the world
Prizes not quantity of dirty lands–
The parts that fortune hath bestow’d upon her:
Tell her I hold as giddily as Fortune–
But ’tis that miracle, and Queen of Gems
That nature ‘dorns her in, attracts my soul.

Orsino, having caught onto the money-blunder fault with Feste earlier, basically instructs Cesario to get back to Olivia to tell her that he doesn’t want her for her money (“prizes not quantity of dirty lands”), and in fact, he views those “parts that fortune hath bestow’d upon her… as giddily as Fortune” (in other words, he’s too rich to care about more money). Rather, Orsino’s soul loves her for the miracle of her beauty, “adorned her by nature”.

Viola, fearing the worst, asks:

Viola: But, if she cannot love you sir.

Orsino can’t take that:

Orsino: It cannot be so answer’d.

Viola, completing Orsino’s pentameter, tries to reason with him, so what if some lady loves you with as much love as you do Olivia, and you cannot love her. She’d have to take that:

      Sooth but you must.
Say that some Lady, as perhaps there is,
Hath for your love as great a pang of heart
As you have for Olivia: you cannot love her –
You tell her so — Must she not then be answer’d?

Orsino then gives a rather misogynistic worldview, of no woman’s body being able to withstand the “beating of so strong a passion / as love doth give [his] heart.” Moreover, he claims a woman’s heart can’t be “so big, to hold so much, [because] they lack retention.” It’s curious how Orsino opened the play wishing to have his love quenched by a gluttony of it, and now his view on love has it such that his is “as hungry as the Sea, / and can digest as much.” Basically, “mak no compare / between that love a woman can bear me.”

      There is no woman’s sides.
Can bide the beating of so strong a passion,
As love doth give my heart: no woman’s heart
So big, to hold so much, they lack retention.
Alas, their love may be call’d appetite,
No motion of the Liver, but the Pallate,
That suffer surfeit, cloyment, and revolt,
But mine is all as hungry as the Sea,
And can digest as much, make no compare
Between that love a woman can bear me,
And that I owe Olivia.

Viola replies immediately, with melancholy:

Viola:    Aye, but I know.

Orsino is surprised at Viola’s quick response, pauses, perhaps cocks an eyebrow, before curiosity takes over at this young page’s impertinence:

Orsino:    What dost thou know?

Viola admits she knows “too well,” the kind of love women have for men, and that this love is “as true of heart” as “ours (men’s).” She then goes on to mention her father’s daughter, who’d loved a man, the same way that Cesario might love his Lord–were Cesario a woman, that is!

Too well that love women to men may owe:
In faith they are as true of heart, as we.
My Father had a daughter lov’d a man
As it might be perhaps, were I a woman
I should your Lordship.

Intrigued, Orsino immediately asks for her story:

Orsino:  &nbsp And what’s her history?

Viola begins her tale with the classic result of repressed unrequited love, “Nothing happened, because she never told him… She pined away, patiently like a statue, but wasted away, smiling at this bittersweet unrequitedness.” Viola challenges Orsino’s bulimic appetite with this silent death of a love (that’s very real and present to herself), asking if this is love, and concluding that men say a lot, but it’s all “a show of vows,” as the love isn’t really sinecere:

A blank, my Lord: she never told her love,
But let concealment like a worm i’th bud
Feed on her damask cheek: she pin’d in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy,
She sat like Patience on a Monument,
Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?
We men may say more, swear more, but indeed
Our shows are more than will: for still we prove
Much in our vows, but little in our love.

Enchanted by this story of a woman with love so strong, that she would waste away, Orsino asks the blunt question–did she actually die:

Orsino: But died thy sister of her love, my Boy?

Viola, also enchanted by her own story, answers too close to the truth, referring herself to herself as her father’s daughter, and all the brothers as well, but she knows not. Then, she makes a quick exit by changing the topic back “on theme”:

I am all the daughters of my Father’s house,
And all the brothers too; and yet I know not.
Sir, shall I to this Lady?

Orsino, realizing that they’d greatly digressed from his initial intent, gets back on topic. It seems as if he’s enacting the proof of how men’s vows are more show than anything else, as he gives Cesario a jewel to give Olivia (even though wealth is not the reason for his courting):

      Aye, that’s the Theme,
To her in haste: give her this Jewell: say,
My love can give no place, bid no denay.


Act 2, Scene 4: Feste, Orsino

   Posted by: Ina Centaur Tags: ,

This is Part II of my Director’s Notes to Act 2, Scene 4. The music accompanying this piece will be in another post.

Curio returns with Feste.

Orsino beseeches Feste to sing that song from last night, that tells of old knowledge and simple truth that the spinsters and knitters, and even free maids, know and used to sing, back in the “good old days”:

O fellow come, the song we had last night:
Mark it, Cesario, it is old and plain;
The Spinsters and the Knitters in the Sun,
And the free maids that weave their thread with bones,
Do use to chant it: it is simple sooth,
And dallies with the innocence of love,
Like the Old Age.

Feste does not try to complete Orsino’s queer pentameter, instead, wants to get this task done with:

Feste: Are you ready, Sir?

And, Orsino commands him to sing:

I prithee sing.

And, Feste sings a song whose tune is lost to our modern mess (though the variorum mentions “Mistres to the Courtier” has a line that goes like “fie away, fie away, fie, fie, fie), so I will get to compose a new tune just for this (see a forthcoming post):

Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress, let me be laid.
Fie away, fie away, breath,
I am slain by a fair cruel maid:
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew, O prepare it.
My part of death no one so true did share it.

Not a flower, not a flower sweet
On my black coffin, let there be strewn:
Not a friend, not a friend greet
My poor corpses, where my bones shall be thrown:
A thousand thousand sighs to save, lay me where
Sad true lover never find my grave, to weep there.

Orsino offers coin, but what’s curious is that though Feste happily accepted Andrew and Toby’s coin last night, he seems reluctant to accept Orsino’s. He even stammers a bit, saying “sir”, twice.

Orsino: There’s for thy pains.
Feste: No pains, sir, I take pleasure in singing, sir.

Orsino seems rather insistent on paying. Feste apparently does not want to get paid — rather, it’s queer how Orsino can take the music so close to heart, and yet treat its voice like just another hired goon. Though both Olivia and Orsino are more well off (financially) than the person they offer coin to, this contrasts with Act 1, Scene 5, where Viola rejects Olivia’s coin, because Feste takes pleasure in performing, and Viola-Cesario, took the act as an obligation. Both, though, believe coin to be superfluous:

Orsino: I’ll pay thy pleasure then.
Feste: Truly, sir, and pleasure will be paid one time, or another.

The idea of a hired voice taking so much to heart, as to reject coin–even politely–is too much for Orsino:

Orsino: Give me now leave, to leave thee.

Feste then comments on Orsino’s fickleness, though in obscure riddle (that a tailor should make his doublet of silk of changing-colors, because his mind is opal-like in fleeting change). Feste would set these inconstant men out to see, so that they could do everything, everywhere, thus making a good trip of nothing (their constitution).

Feste: Now the melancholy God protect thee, and the Tailor make thy doublet of changeable Taffeta, for thy mind is very Opal. I would have men of such constancy put to Sea, that their business might be everything, and their intent everywhere; for that’s it, that always makes a good voyage of nothing. Farewell.

And, Feste exits with a formal Farewell.

(It looks like Viola could be Feste’s understudy, with Viola leaving, perhaps to sit in a hidden dept, still within the Duke’s court — so Duke yells out “Mark it, Cesario”. Viola is not present in this exchange–indeed, Viola and Feste might sound so similar, hence the Duke’s voice-confusion, the two might have been played by the same actor!)


Act 2, Scene 4: Curio, Orsino, Viola

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This is yet another entry in my “Director’s Notes” category.

Orsino’s Court is gathered, as he enters declaring for yet more music:

Orsino: Give me some Musick! Now good morrow friends.

Orsino then addresses Cesario about the old and clown-like song sung last night, plenty brisk and light…

Now good Cesario, but that piece of song,
That old and Antic song we heard last night;
Methought it did release my passion much,
More than light airs, and recollected terms
Of these most brisk and giddy-paced times.
Come, but one verse.

Though it would be Curio who answers:

Curio: He is not here (to please your Lordship) that should sing it?

Orsino, out of his daze, realizes it wasn’t Cesario who sung, but someone else? (This Cesario-Feste song-voice confusion implies that Feste’s voice might be that of an eunuch’s, and thus we’ve cast a girl for Feste.)

Orsino: Who was it?

Curio, ever-reminding Orsino of his advance age, closer to that of Olivia’s father’s:

Curio: Feste the Jester, my Lord, a fool that the Lady Olivia’s Father took much delight in. He is about the house.

I imagine Orsino going into another sort of “fugue” from his lovesickness, thus when he says “Seek him out,” Orsino refers to both Olivia’s father and Feste the Jester.

Orsino: Seek him out, and play the tune the while.

Curio leaves.

Music plays, as Orsino describes to Cesario how skittish a lover is, and that these tremors and ticks can only be quenched to a monogamous standing-still-contentedness in the beloved’s presence — ideally, this would be timed (in a way, as if Orsino is saying lyrics to a song, timing to tune) so that the tune climaxes to a recognizable phrase right when Orsino says “How does thou like this tune”:

Come hither Boy, if ever thou shalt love
In the sweet pangs of it, remember me:
For such as I am, all true Lovers are,
Unstaid and skittish in all motions else,
Save in the constant image of the creature
That is belov’d. How does thou like this tune?

Viola reveals much about the tune–it reflects Orsino’s flavor of wild, lyric abandon in love:

It gives a very echo to the seat
Where love is thorn’d.

Orsino, after commending Viola’s lines as a sort of wisdom (though she might have meant it, more satirically), basically says, “I’ll bet my life on it — that you’re in love, right, boy?”:

        Thou dost speak masterly,
My life upon’t — young though thou art, thine eye
Hath stay’d upon some favour that it loves:
Hath it not boy?

Viola replies, “Just a bit, and only if you like it…”:

Viola:       A little, by your favour.

It’s curious that Orsino asks “what kind” instead of another question, but this gives Viola a good opportunity to be both obvious, yet general — she completes his pentameter, thus the two lines together, express a full thought:

Orsino: What kind of woman is’t?
Viola:     Of your complexion.

Orsino humble? “I’m not good enough for you, boy?” Or, does he identify himself with “old”, when considering himself with the boy, and, hence his followup “question for clarification”:

Orsino: She is not worth thee then. What years i’faith?

Viola pauses for a few syllables, starting only at the end of her fresh pentameter:

Viola:     About your years, my Lord.

Orsino would begin his line with a sort of incredulous chuckle, and then advise Cesario on the way “things should be”: that the woman should take someone older than herself, and adapt herself to him, to thus “level her place” in her husband’s heart. She’d have to do that because men aren’t constant creatures, however they might praise themselves, but have giddy, more fleeting fancies than women’s.

Too old by heavens: Let still the woman take
An elder than herself, so wears she to him;
So sways the level in her husband’s heart:
For, boy, however we do praise ourselves,
Our fancies are more giddy and unfirm,
More longing, wavering, sooner lost and worn,
Than women’s are.

Viola replies, immediately, completing Orsino’s pentameter with, “I think that’s ok, even though”.

Viola:     I think it well, my Lord.

Orsino beseeches Cesario to find a younger love, one younger than even himself, or his affection would not be able to stand the change–for women are like roses, whose fairness falls the moment they are picked.

Then let thy Love be younger than thyself,
Or thy affection cannot hold the bent:
For women are as Roses, whose fair flower
Being once displayed, doth fall that very hour.

Viola agrees, finds it pitiful, summarizes the crux of the problem, lyrically, “To die, even when they to perfection grow.”

And so they are: alas, that they are so:
To die, even when they to perfection grow.


Act 2, Scene 3: Toby, Andrew

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This is Part E of the director’s commentary on Twelfth Night Act 2, Scene 3. (A | B | C | D | E)

Toby refers to Maria as Penthesilea, the Queen of the Amazons, for the scope of her scheme, and in jest, for her size.

Toby: Good night, Penthesilea.

Toby and Andrew then say some good words of her, and Toby finds wonder in that Maria adores him:

Andrew: Before me, she’s a good wench.
Toby: She’s a beagle true bred, and one that adores me: what o’that.

Pensively, Andrew states the truth (though he’s here on business to woo Olivia, he’s hardly adored):

Andrew: I was ador’d once too.

Toby changes the topic, to more immediate concerns:

Toby: Let’s to bed, knight: Thou hadst need send for more money.

Though inebriated, Andrew still has some of his wits about him:

Andrew: If I cannot recover your Niece, I am foul way out.

Toby gives the rich man’s son an easy solution–send for more money, and things will all work out in the end:

Toby: Send for money knight, if thou hast her not i’th end, call me Cut.

Andrew, galvanized by Toby’s assurance, declares:

Andrew: If I do not, never trust me, take it how you will.

Not wishing Andrew to be off on his own to think otherwise, he shepherds his friend back to the tavern:

Toby: Come, come, I’ll go burn some Sack, ’tis too late to go to bed now: Come knight, come knight.