Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Ron Reed

Twelfth Night

Recommended Posts

I'm presently immersed in draft four of my play A BRIGHT PARTICULAR STAR, about George MacDonald's daughter Lilia, who was an actress. I've already woven in rehearsal and performance bits of two plays the family staged, MACBETH and PILGRIM'S PROGRESS, but only now am I really engaging with the challenge of working in a rehearsal section and a performance section from TWELFTH NIGHT, which they performed at Cannes (!) and around which I've organized the climax of my play.

In an effort to tease out the resonances of Shakespeare's play with Lilia's life, I spent this evening close viewing Trevor Nunn's film treatment of the play, which is a long-time favourite of mine. Out of that I think I've chosen the scene they'll be rehearsing (V:1, the section with Viola, Olivia, Orsino and the priest - because that allows me to have the right characters involved, and it's maximum lively, and deals with marriage): not sure what to use for the performance excerpt yet, but I've flagged a few possibilities to consider tomorrow.

Anyhow, all this has me renewing my appreciation for the tremendous artistry of this film adaptation: deft adaptation of the play into screenplay, glorious performances from Imogen Stubbs and Helena Bonham Carter, and such fascinating subtext and darker colors. Really fascinated by Kingsley's Feste this time.

Which led me to a terrifically substantial article on the film, a scholarly piece by a fellow from Oberlin College; Trevor Nunn's Twelfth Night: Contemporary Film and Classic British Theatre by Nicholas R. Jones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Which led me to a terrifically substantial article on the film, a scholarly piece by a fellow from Oberlin College; Trevor Nunn's Twelfth Night: Contemporary Film and Classic British Theatre by Nicholas R. Jones.

Nice synchronicity, Ron! I'm in the midst of teaching the play this week and just showed the first 40 min. or so of the film to my class--up through "Cesario"'s first embassy to Oliva and her realization that she likes "him."

Thanks for the link to the excellent Jones article. One thing I noticed this time through the film, which Jones also calls attention to, is the way Nunn emphasizes music, especially the "O Mistress Mine" song, which is suggestively interwoven with the soundtrack in several scenes besides the ones in which it is actually sung.

I don't think anyone has mentioned the current "homage" to this play, She's the Man, apparently attempting the same approach as 10 Things I Hate About You, but from the previews, I don't think it's going to be even that good, or deserve its own thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice synchronicity, Ron!

Indeed!
One thing I noticed this time through the film, which Jones also calls attention to, is the way Nunn emphasizes music, especially the "O Mistress Mine" song, which is suggestively interwoven with the soundtrack in several scenes besides the ones in which it is actually sung.

There is so much going on when Feste sings in the kitchen, the two drunken "knights" on the bench, Maria's sorrow that's reflected in Feste. I'm pretty sure what's being underscored there is the unfulfilled love between Maria and Sir Toby, but this time through I found myself wondering if Feste himself might love Maria? Which would resonate evocatively with the Orsino - Viola - Olivia triangle of mistaken and unrequited loves.

I don't think that's actually what's going on - the pain in Feste's eyes is because, yes, he loves Maria, but not romantically, simply in a way that sees her pain, not because he's in love with Maria and feels pain for himself. But it certainly stirs our compassion for unfulfilled lovers, and effects a tenderness in us that I think opens our hearts to see not only the folly but also the pain of the three central characters. Part of what makes this TWELFTH NIGHT affect me the way innumerable broadly comic stage versions have not - it takes the pain seriously, paints with darker colours.

And isn't the music in that sequence glorious? Feste and Maria's voices in that plaintive, gorgeous harmony?

Wish I was in your class!

Edited by Ron

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SHE'S THE MAN

Everybody has a secret... Duke wants Olivia who likes Sebastian who is really Viola whose brother is dating Monique so she hates Olivia who's with Duke to make Sebastian jealous who is really Viola who's crushing on Duke who thinks she's a guy...

or

It's hard enough being the nerdy new guy on campus without also being the new girl on campus, who has fallen for the coolest guy on campus, who is totally obsessed with the most beautiful girl on campus, who is crushing on the nerdy new guy on campus. Viola Johnson (Amanda Bynes) had her own good reasons for disguising herself as her twin brother Sebastian (James Kirk) and enrolling in his place at his new boarding school, Illyria Prep. She was counting on Sebastian being AWOL from school as he tried to break into the music scene in London. What she didn't count on was falling in love with her hot roommate, Duke (Channing Tatum), who in turn only has eyes for the beautiful Olivia (Laura Ramsey). Making matters worse, Olivia is starting to fall for Sebastian, who—for reasons Olivia couldn't begin to guess—appears to be the sensitive type of guy she'd always dreamed of meeting. If things weren't complicated enough, the real Sebastian has come back from London two days earlier than expected and arrives on campus having no clue that he's been replaced...by his own twin sister.

Edited by Ron

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...