Twelfth Night, or What You Will
By William Shakespeare
Get groovy with this psychedelic 1970’s spin on Shakespeare’s classic gender-bending comedy about love, deception and “what you will”. From its unforgettable opening line, to its deliriously comic conclusion, Twelfth Night is a masterpiece of disguise, delusions and desire. Mayhem ensues when Viola digs Orsino; Orsino’s crazy for Olivia; Olivia has a crush on Caesario, but Caesario is actually Viola in disguise! Enter Sebastian, Viola’s twin brother, to make everyone dazed and confused.
Linda Hardy teaches acting and voice in the undergraduate performance program and directing at the graduate level for the MFA in directing. She has directed many Phoenix shows and is delighted to have the opportunity to direct a Shakespearean comedy this year for the department. Internationally, Prof. Hardy is known as a Master teacher in voice and acting. She has taught and directed in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Thailand, China and India. Most recently she has worked with professional actors in Beijing, helping them understand Western approaches to acting. In India, she has been assisting Buddhist monks develop a safe vocal technique for traditional chant, so that they will no longer be so prone to strain.
Queen Elizabeth I commissioned Twelfth Night, or What You Will for January 6, 1600 in celebration of the visit of Don Virgilio Orsino of Tuscany, her chief guest at the height of the Christmas revels. Shakespeare and his company had only ten days to write, rehearse, and present a play full of music, dance, song and high jinks to amuse her Majesty and the Court. January 6, or the twelfth day of Christmas, was also the traditional time for the Saturnalia—the time when everything could be turned upside down, little people could ape and make fun of their betters, and those who had gotten too big for the britches could be laughed at openly. The butt of the jokes for Twelfth Night was
the Queen’s Comptroller Sir William Knollys, the overseer of the household servants and manager of expenditures for the Court’s diet. He was also a married man of 53 and in love with one of the Queen’s young ladies in waiting—Mary Fitton. Hence his counterpart in the play is named Malvolio—a pun on the phrase “I want Mol” or Molly. The year 1600 was a leap year – a traditional time when women could take charge and run the show, and how suitable for a celebration fit for a Queen! Thus Shakespeare gave her Majesty a play in which the women definitely take over. For example, it is Maria, Olivia’s Lady in Waiting, who is the chief engineer of the joke on Malvolio, and revels in the victory when he takes her bait. Furthermore, in a leap year, ladies may propose marriage, as does Olivia herself to Caesario/ Sebastian.
Traditionally our February slot is for small plays – because of budget and time constraints both in shop and in rehearsal. However, many of the students in this year’s 4th year acting class were so keen to do a Shakespeare, having cut their teeth on the smaller roles in last season’s Romeo and Juliet, that we decided to give them a chance to do Twelfth Night. The play is also conducive to doubling, so we’ve been able to make sure that everyone in that graduating class has a chance to tackle a strong role before graduation.
I’ve set the play in 1970, partly again for the practical reasons of time and budget constraints but mostly because it simply fits so well there. In 1970 it seemed there was a Swami around every corner and it seemed suitable to get Viola into a turban and love beads to send her off to Orsino’s court in disguise. Love was in the air, and the play is full of love and love’s delusions. On the edges of Twelfth Night there is also a war that only serves to heighten our appreciation of love and loss, and the brevity of youth. It is hard to remember the ‘70’s and all its sublimity and silliness, without also remembering its pain.
I have no doubt that Illyria is England. Our play is set in a thinly veiled Brighton by the sea. It struck me in preparation, on the remark of a colleague, that you can’t go less than a mile in England and the accents change. So, I decided to give the strangers from Messaline the posh accents and let everyone else in Illyria sound uniformly like us—the country folk just down the coast—just to bring it a little closer to home.
Please enjoy our show and thank you for your continued support for the Department of Theatre and the work we do here.
February 24 – March 5, 2011
Previews @ 8pm: February 22*, 23^ (all seats $6)
Evenings @ 8pm: February 24*, 25*, 26^, 28^ | March 1*, 2^, 3*, 4^, 5^
Matinee @ 2pm: March 5*
Box Office: Opens February 15, 2011
For ticket prices click here.
Seating Plan: Chief Dan George
Charge by phone: 250-721-8000
or in person at the Phoenix Box Office
Friday & Saturday Evenings
All Seats $28
Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday Matinees
All Seats $26
All Seats $15
NEW! Student Rush Tickets
30 minutes before every show: $16
Saturday Matinees: $21
(with UVic Alumni ONECard)
Performed in the Chief Dan George Theatre
Cast & Creative
Directed by Linda Hardy
Set Designer Allan Stichbury
Music and Associate Director Jeffrey Pufahl
Costume Designer Cat Haywood
Lighting Designer Kerem Çetinel
Movement Director Kaz Piesowocki
Text Coach Fran Gebhard
Stage Manager Courtney Butler
Mik Byskov Fabian
Geneviève Dale Maria*| Maid | Party Girl
Cobi Dayan Sir Toby
Randi Edmundson Olivia
Molly Farmer Hari Krishna Girl | Partygoer
Alex Frankson Antonio
Robin Gadsby Hari Krishna | Partygoer
Andrew Gillot Olivia’s Under Butler | Sailor | Barrow Dealer
Lucas Hall Sir Andrew
Kesinee Haney Feste* | Hari Krishna Girl | Party Girl
Jethro Herring Hari Krishna | Partygoer
Sarah Koury Viola
Graeme Nathan Feste^ | Orsino’s Attendant*
Kale Penny Curio | Policeman
Graham Roebuck Valentine, Orsino’s Steward | Fisherman
Sean Sager Sebastian
Kayla Sankey Maria^ | Maid | Party Girl
Liam Volke Orsino, Duke of Illyria
Andrew Wade Malvolio, Olivia’s Steward
Derek Wallis Orsino’s Attendant | Sailor | Partygoer
Simon Walter Captain | Sir Topas
Kieran Wilson Orsino’s Attendant | Policeman
* or ^ denotes alternating roles on different evenings as per shedule below.
Scenes of violence and domestic abuse.
Suitable for ages 15+