by William Shakespeare
Royal Shakespeare Company
The production transferred to the Aldwych Theatre the following year.
Act One is about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Act Two is about 1 hour and 10 minutes. There is one interval of 15 minutes.
The text for this production contains cuts of about 40 lines.
About the play
The Duke Orsino, who rules over Illyria, is in love with the lady Olivia. Viola and her brother Sebastian are shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria and each believes the other drowned. Viola disguises herself as a boy, assumes the name of Cesario and enters the service of Duke Orsino. He sends Viola (Cesario) to woo Olivia on his behalf. The lady, believing Viola to be a boy, falls in love with her, while Viola herself secretly falls in love with her master, the Duke. Malvolio, the steward of Olivia's household, is tricked by Sir Toby Belch, her uncle; Sir Andrew Aguecheek, her wooer; Maria, her waiting-woman; and Feste, her fool; into believing himself beloved by the lady Olivia. To restrain his apparently insane delusion he is confined to a dark room. Sir Toby continues to amuse himself by tricking Sir Andrew Aguecheek into a duel with Viola. Antonio, the companion of her brother Sebastian, arrives and saves the situation. Olivia mistakes Sebastian for Viola, and they are secretly married. True identities are then revealed, Malvolio is released, and the play ends with the marriage of Viola to Orsino, and Maria to Sir Toby Belch.
The Roman dramatist Plautus developed a comic theme of the confused identity of twins which lived on to inspire many sixteenth century plays, among them Il Inganni (The Deceived), a carnival play performed in Siena in 1531, which undoubtedly provided a major source for Twelfth Night. But Il Inganni is a rumbustuous comedy; the elegiac tone of Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night is more consistent with Barnaby Riche's romantic story on the same theme, Apolonius and Silla from which, along with other tales in Riche's collection, Shakespeare seems to have borrowed.
Twelfth Night was not published until the 1623 Folio, seven years after Shakespeare's death. On stylistic evidence, scholars agree that it is one of Shakespeare's later comedies and was probably written in 1600, not long after As You Like It. It was certainly performed in 1602, since John Manningham, a lawyer of the Middle Temple, says in his diary entry for 2nd February of that year:
"At our feast wee had a play called "Twelve Night or What You Will."
|Orsino||John Price||Also this season: Seyton/Donalbain in Macbeth. Work outside RSC includes: seasons at Great Yarmouth, Harrogate. Lincoln. Chesterfield, season at Sheffield (1971), Frank Moore in The Changing Room (London 1972). I Was Hitler's Maid (London 1972) Narrator in Under Milk Wood, Lucentio in The Taming of the Shrew (Sheffield 1972), Simon in The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Birmingham Rep 1974). Alan in Sam (Granada TV 1973/74), Stevie Gordon in Friendly Encounter (forthcoming Village Hall TV).|
|Curio, attending on Orsino||Louis Sheldon||Also this season: Guard in Measure for Measure. Charles I in World Turned Upside Down. Work outside RSC includes: Eric in The Nutcracker Suite (London 1965). Ariel in The Tempest (Ellen Terry Theatre 1967), Peppermint Twin in Warhol's Pork (Roundhouse 1971), a member of the cast of Joseph and His Technicolour Dreamcoat (Alberry 1973). Films include: Hubert in Our Mother's House (1967), John in Good-Bye Mr Chips (1968), Johan in I Like Women. Is That Serious (1973).|
|Valentine, attending on Orsino||Walter McMonagle||Also this season: Lord Manchester in World Turned Upside Down. Work outside RSC includes: season with Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, McCann in The Birthday Party, Commander Granges in Breaking Point. Florindo in The Servant of Two Masters and Ferdinand in The Tempest (all on tour. Century Theatre 1969/70), MacMorris in Henry V (Bath 1969), leading roles at Belgrade, Coventry, including Val Yeo in It's a Two Foot Six inches above the Ground World (1970), Gloucester in Richard III (1971). and the King of France in King Lear (Prospect Company 1972). Sammy in Within Two Shadows (Belfast 1972), Stan Sedgeman in Just Before Dawn (Richmond 1972), Ham in Noah (Yvonne Arnaud 1973), Joe in The Daughter-in-Law (Watermill, Newbury 1973), Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger (Plymouth 1973), Paul in Barefoot in the Park (Lincoln 1974). TV includes: Patrick Brophy in The Brophy Story (Thames 1969).|
|A Gentleman, attending on Orsino||George Fenton||Work with RSC includes: Musician in Island of the Mighty (1972). Work outside RSC includes: Boy in Forty Years On (London 1969). Henry in Private Road (film 1971), A season at Birmingham Rep (1971). Gardiner in Butley (London 1972), A Day Out (TV 1972), Monsieur Rowland in Cherie (TV 1972). The Pleasure Principle (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs 1973). Music: composed for Private Road (film) Romeo and Juliet (1971) with Carl Davis.|
|Viola, twins||Jane Lapotaire||Also this season: Lady Macduff in Macbeth. Work outside RSC includes: Joined Bristol Old Vic in 1965. Played leading roles in The Homecoming, War and Peace, Mrs Warren's Profession and The Cherry Orchard. Joined the National Theatre in 1967. Parts include: Antoinette in A Flea in Her Ear, Judith in The Dance of Death, Mrs Falnall and Mincing in The Way of the World, Miss Dennis in Home and Beauty, and for Young Vic: Zerbinetta in Scapino, Katharina in The Taming of the Shrew.|
|Sebastian, twins||Robert Lloyd||Also this season: Ariel in The Tempest. Work with RSC includes: Larry in Rudkin's Afore Night Come. Jacques Roux in Weiss's The Marat/Sade, Dromio in A Comedy of Errors (1965), Lucentio in The Taming of the Shrew (1967); appeared in Peter Brook's US and Edgar in King Lear (film). Puck and Philostrate in Brook's A Midsummer Night's Dream (London and tour 1973). Work outside RSC includes: Gary in Heathcote Williams' AC/DC (Royal Court 1970), worked with Peter Brook's International Centre for Theatre Research in Paris and Persia (1971/72), Churchill's People for BBC TV.|
|Olivia||Mary Rutherford||Work with RSC includes: Alice in Bartholomew Fair, Juliet in Measure for Measure, Nadya in Enemies. Hermia in Midsummer Night's Dream (Stratford 1970, American tour, Aldwych 1971), Calpurnia in Julius Caesar, Octavia in Antony and Cleopatra (Aldwych 1973 and TV 1974), and Alice Faulkner in Sherlock Holmes (Aldwych 1973/74). Work outside RSC includes: Fraulein Rabenjung in The Tutor (Royal Court 1968), various parts in The Hero Rises Up (London 1968), Glumdalclitch in Gulliver's Travels (London 1969), Haze Cooke in Yelapal (London 1969), Lika in The Promise (Welsh Theatre Company 1972), Ingrid, The Green Woman and Anitra in Peer Gynt (Newcastle 1973).|
|Sir Toby Belch, her uncle||David Waller||Also this season: Escalus in Measure for Measure. Work with RSC includes: Harry Belcher in Belcher's Luck. Pastor Manders in Ghosts, Duff in Landscape (1969 and 1973), Claudius in Hamlet, title role in Doctor Faustus (Theatregoround), Sylvester Heegan in The Silver Tassie, Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Stratford, Aldwych and on Broadway 1970/71), Old Bellair in The Man of Mode, Levshin in Enemies, Edward in, A Slight Ache. Senator Caldwell in Section Nine (The Place 1973 and Aldwych), Herbert Shanklin in Duck Song, Father Motilla in The Bewitched (both Aldwych 1974). Work outside RSC includes: The Doctor in The Miracle Worker (London 1961), title role in Serjeant Musgrave's Dance (Coventry 1963), Mr Price in Work is a Four Letter Word (film 1967); The Bankrupt, A Song at Twilight, Staff Room, The Piano Player and Helen — A Woman of Today (all TV 1972/73).|
|Sir Andrew Aguecheek, her wooer||Frank Thornton||Also this season: Duncan in Macbeth. Work outside RSC includes: with Sir Donald Wolfit's Company 1941; parts included: Fenton and Bardolph in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Laertes in Hamlet and Mosca in Volpone. followed by Angus and a lord in Sir John Gielgud's Macbeth (1942). After war service Southsea 'Rep, then 1947/50 toured in The Dancing Years and One Wild Oat. Mouche in. The Empty Chair (Oxford 1956), Caliph in Hassan (Dublin Festival 1960), Ludovico Nota in Naked (Dublin Festival 1960), Edward in Meals on Wheels (Royal Court 1965), Empton QC in Alibi for a Judge (London 1966), Minnit and Procurio in The Young Visiters (London 1968), Councillor Parker in the revival of When We Are Married (London 1970), Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh (London 1971/72). Appeared in many films over the last 13 years, has been involved in a lot of television comedy, particularly Michael Bentine's It's A Square World, The World of Beachcomber and many comedies, most recently Captain Peacock in Are You Being Served.|