In New York City, Turn to Flesh Productions, a theatre company that specializes in creating “new Shakespeare shows”, developed two plays focused on Malvolio: A Comedy of Heirors,
or The Imposters by verse playwright, Emily C. A. Snyder, which imagined a disgraced Malvolio chasing down two pairs of female twins in Syracuse and Ephesus, and Malvolio’s Revenge by verse playwright, Duncan Pflaster, a queer sequel to Twelfth
Elizabeth Hand’s novella Illyria features a high school production of Twelfth Night, containing many references to the play, especially Feste’s song.
The earliest public performance took place at Middle Temple Hall, one of the Inns of Court, on 2 February (Candlemas night) in 1602 recorded in an entry in the diary of the
lawyer John Manningham, who wrote: At our feast we had a play called “Twelve Night, or What You Will”, much like “The Comedy of Errors” or “Menaechmi” in Plautus, but most like and near to that in Italian called “Inganni”.
Plays Theatre Grottesco, a Lecocq-inspired company based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico, created a modern version of the play from the point of view of the servants working
for Duke Orsino and Lady Olivia, entitled Grottesco’s 12th Night (2008).
“ American playwright Ken Ludwig wrote a play inspired by the details of Twelfth Night, called Leading Ladies.
Twelfth Night, or What You Will is a romantic comedy by William Shakespeare that is believed to have been written around 1601–1602 as a Twelfth Night entertainment for the
close of the Christmas season.
Sara Farizan’s 2014 young adult novel “Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel” features a high school production of the play, where the “new girl” Saskia plays Viola/Cesario
and catches the attention of the main character, Leila.
The company of Shakespeare’s Globe, London, has produced many notable, highly popular all-male performances, and a highlight of their 2002 season was Twelfth Night, with the
Globe’s artistic director Mark Rylance playing the part of Olivia.
 Both plays were originally written for submission to the American Shakespeare Center’s call for plays in conversation with the Bard through the Shakespeare’s
New Contemporaries program.
She is presented in the final scene of the film as William Shakespeare’s “true” inspiration for the heroine of Twelfth Night.
 Clearly, Manningham enjoyed the Malvolio story most of all, and noted the play’s similarity with Shakespeare’s earlier play, as well as its relationship with one of its
sources, the Inganni plays.
 Performance history During and just after Shakespeare’s lifetime Twelfth Night, or What You Will (to give the play its full title) was probably commissioned for
performance as part of the Twelfth Night celebrations held by Queen Elizabeth I at Whitehall Palace on 6 January 1601 to mark the end of the embassy of the Italian diplomat, the Duke of Orsino.
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.
 In March 2017, 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.
The Baker Street Irregulars believe Sherlock Holmes’s birthday to be 6 January due to the fact that Holmes quotes twice from Twelfth Night whereas he quotes only once from
other Shakespeare plays.
(p 15) This has sometimes correlated with how far productions of the play go towards reaffirming a sense of unification, for example a 1947 production concentrated on
showing a post-World War II community reuniting at the end of the play, led by a robust hero / heroine in Viola, played by Beatrix Lehmann, then 44 years old.
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
 Other influences of the English folk tradition can be seen in Feste’s songs and dialogue, such as his final song in Act V. The last line of this song, “And we’ll
strive to please you every day”, is a direct echo of similar lines from several English folk plays.
Restoration to 20th century A Scene from Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare: Act V, Scene i (William Hamilton, c. 1797) The play was also one of the earliest Shakespearean
works acted at the start of the Restoration; Sir William Davenant’s adaptation was staged in 1661, with Thomas Betterton in the role of Sir Toby Belch.
Adaptations Stage Musicals Due to its themes such as young women seeking independence in a “man’s world”, “gender bending” and “same sex attraction”, there
have been a number of re-workings for the stage, particularly in musical theatre, among them Your Own Thing (1968), Music Is (1977), All Shook Up (2005), and Play On!
Yet another TV adaptation followed in 1980.
Another adaptation is Illyria (2002) by composer Pete Mills, which continues to perform regularly throughout the United States.
Clive Barker’s short story “Sex, Death and Starshine” revolves around a doomed production of Twelfth Night.
Illyria is also referred to as a site of pirates in Shakespeare’s earlier play, Henry VI, Part 2.
 The plot against Malvolio revolves around these ideas, and Fabian remarks in Act III, Scene iv: “If this were play’d upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable
Subtitles for plays were fashionable in the Elizabethan era, and though some editors place The Merchant of Venice’s alternative title, The Jew of Venice, as a subtitle, this
is the only Shakespeare play to bear one when first published.
In 1943, Erich Korngold also set the songs “Adieu, Good Man Devil” (Act IV, Scene 2), “Hey, Robin” (Act IV, Scene 2), and “For the Rain, It Raineth Every Day” (Act V, Scene
1) as a song cycle entitled Narrenlieder, Op.
 The Duel Scene from ‘Twelfth Night’ by William Shakespeare, William Powell Frith (1842) As the very nature of Twelfth Night explores gender identity and
sexual attraction, having a male actor play Viola enhanced the impression of androgyny and sexual ambiguity.
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
Influence The play consistently ranks among the greatest plays ever written and has been dubbed as “The Perfect Comedy”.
 Viola’s reply, “I am not that I play”, epitomising her adoption of the role of “Cesario” (Viola), is regarded as one of several references to theatricality and “playing”
within the play.
In 1957, another adaptation of the play was presented by NBC on U.S. television’s Hallmark Hall of Fame, with Maurice Evans recreating his performance as Malvolio.
(pp 18–20) The 1966 Royal Shakespeare Company production played on gender transgressions more obviously, with Diana Rigg as Viola showing much more physical attraction
towards the duke than previously seen, and the court in general being a more physically demonstrative place, particularly between males.
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.
Poster advertising performances of Twelfth Night by Yale University Dramatic Association, New Haven, Connecticut, 1921 Lilian Baylis reopened the long-dormant Sadler’s Wells
Theatre in 1931 with a notable production of the play starring Ralph Richardson as Sir Toby and John Gielgud as Malvolio.
A 2003 tele-movie adapted and directed by Tim Supple is set in the present day.
Television On 14 May 1937, 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.
In the 2004 movie Wicker Park, Rose Byrne’s character Alex plays Viola in an amateur production of Twelfth Night.
 In 1999, 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).
Film See also: Shakespeare on screen § Twelfth Night In 1910, Vitagraph Studios released the silent, short adaptation Twelfth Night starring actors Florence Turner,
Julia Swayne Gordon and Marin Sais.
Shakespeare in Love contains several references to Twelfth Night.
 In Act IV, Scene ii, Feste (The Fool) plays both parts in the “play” for Malvolio’s benefit, alternating between adopting the voice of the local curate, Sir Topas, and
his own voice.
Agatha Christie’s 1940 mystery novel Sad Cypress draws its title from a song in Act II, Scene IV of Twelfth Night.
(p 34) Malvolio is a popular character choice among stage actors; others who have taken the part include Ian Holm many times, Simon Russell Beale (Donmar Warehouse, 2002),
Richard Cordery (2005), Patrick Stewart, (Chichester, 2007), Derek Jacobi (Donmar Warehouse, 2009), Richard Wilson (2009) and Stephen Fry (The Globe, 2012).
 This was the first recorded public performance of the play.
It has been noted that the play’s setting also has other English allusions such as Viola’s use of “Westward ho!
It is set in a prep school named Illyria and incorporates the names of the play’s major characters.
 The entire play was produced for television in 1939, directed by Michel Saint-Denis and starring another future Oscar-winner, Peggy Ashcroft.
(p 30) John Barton’s 1969 production starred Donald Sinden as Malvolio and Judi Dench as Viola; their performances were highly acclaimed and the production as a whole
was commented on as showing a dying society crumbling into decay.
 There are many new modern plays but mostly still played in Early Modern English.
The actual Elizabethan festival of Twelfth Night would involve the antics of a Lord of Misrule, who before leaving his temporary position of authority, would call for entertainment,
songs, and mummery; the play has been regarded as preserving this festive and traditional atmosphere of licensed disorder.
In 2018, the Public Theatre workshopped and premiered a musical adaptation of Twelfth Night with original music by Shaina Taub, who also played the role of Feste.
 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.
“Come Away, Come Away, Death” (Act II, Scene 4) has been set to music by composers Gerald Finzi (1942), Erich Korngold (1943), Roger Quilter, and Jean Sibelius (in a Swedish
translation Kom nu hit in 1957).
One of Club Penguin’s plays, Twelfth Fish, is a spoof of Shakespeare’s works.
“, a typical cry of 16th century London boatmen, and also Antonio’s recommendation to Sebastian of “The Elephant” as where it is best to lodge in Illyria (The Elephant was
a pub not far from the Globe Theatre).
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.
 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.
Near the end of the movie, Elizabeth I (Judi Dench) asks Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) to write a comedy for the Twelfth Night holiday.
Upon meeting Viola, Countess Olivia falls in love with her thinking she is a man.
The 2006 romantic comedy She’s the Man is loosely based on Twelfth Night.
The play expanded on the musical interludes and riotous disorder expected of the occasion, with plot elements drawn from the short story “Of Apollonius and Silla” by Barnabe
Rich, based on a story by Matteo Bandello.
Another version for UK television was produced in 1969, directed by John Sichel and John Dexter.
Another adaptation, Love Betray’d, or, The Agreeable Disappointment, was acted at Lincoln’s Inn Fields in 1703.
Radio An adaptation of Twelfth Night by Cathleen Nesbitt for the BBC was the first complete Shakespeare play ever broadcast on British radio.
 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 1741,
in a production at Drury Lane.
 In 2022, Liverpool-based Theatre Company Old Fruit Jar Productions staged a 1980s inspired twist on the Shakespeare classic at Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre, swapping
Lords and Ladies of stately homes for rowdy Benidorm bars and booze-fuelled escapades, serving as an introduction to Shakespeare for new audiences unfamiliar with his work.
Themes Sex Viola is not alone among Shakespeare’s cross-dressing heroines; in Shakespeare’s theatre, convention dictated that adolescent boys play the roles of female
characters, creating humour in the multiplicity of disguise found in a female character who for a while pretended at masculinity.
 The play was probably finished between 1600 and 1601, a period suggested by the play’s referencing of events that happened during that time.
[‘The carnival-like atmosphere is based on the then-1,000 year earlier, ancient Roman festival of the Saturnalia held at the same time of year. The Saturnalia was characterized by drunken revelry and inversion of the social order: Masters became servants
for a day, and vice versa.
1. Thomson, Peter (1983). Shakespeare’s Theatre. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 94. ISBN 0-7100-9480-9. OCLC 9154553. Shakespeare, having tackled the theatrical problems of providing Twelfth Night with effective
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• Donno, Elizabeth Story (ed.): Twelfth Night (Cambridge, 2003)
• Mahood, M. M. (ed.) Twelfth Night (Penguin, 1995)
• Pennington, Michael: Twelfth Night:
a user’s guide (New York, 2000)
• Mulherin, Jennifer: Twelfth Night (Shakespeare for Everyone)
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nikontino/13509973805/’]