High Camp and Hijinks Abound in "Twelfth Night"
If you've ever wanted to see a Shakespearean play with a little
gender bending, now's your chance with the new Broadway production of "Twelfth Night." Since this classic Shakespeare comedy
uses cross-dressing as a key part of the plot, the producers of this revival decided to take this a step or two further. As
a result, this new production features an all-male cast of distinguished stage veterans in a production that's both intriguing
and utterly beguiling.
If you're a little rusty on your Shakespeare and need to refresh your memory,
the plot is a classic take on the boy-gets-girl-after-tons-of-misunderstandings model. Set on the romantic island of Illyria,
the story involves twins, Sebastian and Viola, who are shipwrecked. Viola comes ashore and, believing her brother to be dead,
protects herself by disguising herself as a man named Cesario. In this guise, she gets a job as the manservant of Duke Orsino.
As time goes on, Duke Orsino falls in love with Viola (who reciprocates his affection).
In the meantime, twin brother
Sebastian is also rescued and, of course, mistaken for Cesario. The plot is further complicated by Duke Orsino's longtime
love, Olivia, as well as machinations from the pompous troublemaker steward, Malvolio. The usual Shakespearean merry mayhem
then ensues, with Sebastian and Viola finding that they have some major explaining to do.
all-male version of "Twelfth Night" stars Mark Rylance as Olivia, Stephen Fry as Malvolio and Samuel Barnett as Viola.
Fans of Shakespeare are already well-acquainted with the work of actor Mark Rylance, who was the artistic director of Shakespeare's
Globe Theatre from 1996 to 2006. He won a Tony Award for his Broadway debut in "Boeing-Boeing" and also played star turns
in "La Bête" and "Jerusalem." Samuel Barnett is also no stranger to Broadway, having won a Tony nomination for playing Posner
in "The History Boys." Acclaimed movie and television actor Stephen Fry has appeared in movies, such as "A Fish Called Wanda,"
"Wilde" (in which he memorably portrayed Oscar Wilde) and "Gosford Park," and is making his long-awaited Broadway debut in
The author of "Twelfth Night" is William Shakespeare, who wrote the play
in 1601 or 1602 as a special Twelfth Night holiday entertainment. History has recorded that there was a performance staged
on February 2, 1602, to mark the holiday of Candlemas, which was considered to be the official end date of the Christmas season.
This Broadway production of "Twelfth Night" is directed by Tim Carroll, who has already made his
mark as an experienced interpreter of the Bard's works, having spent six years producing and directing Shakespeare's plays
at The Globe Theatre in London. In addition to his Shakespearean credits, Carroll is an acclaimed opera director as well.
Whether you've seen "Twelfth Night" before or whether you're new to this classic comedy, you won't want to miss this innovative,
original production and its fresh take on familiar themes. With mistaken identities, misplaced affection and moments of high
camp, Shakespeare-style, "Twelfth Night" offers a rollicking good time at the theater.
Thanks to a fascinating
bit of stagecraft, you'll want to get to the theater early. Before the curtain, the audience is treated to the sight of the
actors dressing and putting on their makeup onstage.
During Shakespeare's time, female roles onstage were played by
young men and boys — which means that, from a casting point of view, this production is amazingly authentic. In another touch
of authenticity, the stage in this production is lit with 100 candles throughout the show.
revival of "Twelfth Night" continued to run at New York's Belasco Theatre in early 2014, with both evening and matinee performances
running until mid-February 2014. The performance running time was three hours, and a truly unforgettable experience. If you're
on the hunt for Twelfth Night New York tickets, keep an eye out for more information about specific dates coming up in the