From the Director
From the Director
Welcome to Illyria; a place of magic, mystery, and mayhem.
In the midst of the mayhem is a story Shakespeare is valiantly trying to tell us, a story that he brings to life through a unique blend of characters. Each has his agenda in which he or she may win or lose something of great value. Not all of the characters are forthcoming about their agendas—even to themselves, a fact which adds to the delight of the story.
Literary critic, Joseph Summers says of Twelfth Night, “Every character has his mask, for the assumption of the play is that no one is without a mask in the serio-comic business of the pursuit of happiness.” As a general rule, we laugh with the characters who know the role they are playing and we laugh at those who do not; we can crudely divide the cast of Twelfth Night into those two categories.
The characters in both of these categories are working out in their lives the things most important to them, while at the same time facing the challenge to change some of the choices they have made and embrace life in a new way. For example, Olivia says, “Me thinks tis time to smile again.” In smiling, she makes the choice to shake off the grief which has shrouded and protected her and risk the thrill of something new—a freedom that allows her to choose life again. She is not alone in choosing something new, nor in the subsequent surprising possibilities—though for some, smiling comes with a different expectation, and leads to a different end!
Shakespeare knows the humanity of his characters, and because he knows them so well, he allows the craziness of their choices to lead them into explosions of life. Ours is the joy of joining in their experience.
Have a great evening!