The play Twelfth Night or What You Will is a thrilling comedy by William Shakespeare, which might as well have been the inspiration for Spanish soap operas. Many people might want to shoot me after mentioning Shakespeare even in the same sentence with these often ridiculous, housewives’ favorite love dramas, but the truth remains – the play includes everything that is needed to form one. Which is what makes it so enjoyable – love triangles, forbidden love, drama, emotions, thrilling characters and a great pace of event culmination, which hopefully keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the way. Although, the pace of the play could have been faster in some scenes and there were scenes that went on for longer than needed, making them more important than they actually were. It, however, did not disturb the overall thrill of events.
The play itself was written in the purpose of entertainment for the twelfth night in the anticipation for Christmas, and the Acting course did sure entertain their audience, therefore, fulfilling the first and foremost aim of the play.
The play itself gives the audience a harsh but true insight to the essence of love and the automatic self-destruction of a human being on their search for one. From the beginning of time we have been drawn to the Forbidden Fruit and tend to fall for the irrational or unreachable love. It is an eternal subject and theme that follows the humankind throughout time in all areas that include human relations. The acting class students presented the issue in an entertaining manner and made the audience really relate to the characters, creating a friendly environment and the freedom for the audience to react and share their emotions. As for every performer, the best feedback is hearing the voices of their audience – whether it is laughter, questions, comments or any other sound triggered by emotion. Unless of course it is tomatoes, then you are in big trouble.
The grandiose and exaggerated characters played in reversed gender roles gave a certain entertaining approach to the play. Although, they can also bring up the issue of gender neutrality and give the audience some reflection on one of the most relevant subjects in our society. Which triggers the real purpose of a theatrical experience – to create material for thought. For example, how does laughing about a male figure in a skirt sit with the issue of gender neutrality and can it actually be achieved without the irony and sattire around it? Can one portray a man in a polka dot skirt shaking his hips, without making the audience laugh? Moreover, why do we not find women dressed as men as funny as men dressed as women?
Overall, I have always thought the most important scenes of a play are the beginning and the end – the beginning defining the mood of the viewer for the whole play and the end determining the viewer’s reflection of it. The first impression of this play was mostly to do with set design and costumes, which throughout the play used simple solutions to create complicated scenes. The play started with a huge fabric creating waves and impersonating the stormy sea, which was a brilliant solution. The end, however, sort of turned into a musical, which probably in some other culture would have been considered too much, but which for a British environment creates just the mood that one would want to leave with. Almost the mood you get just before going out for a drink after many weeks of constant stress – a feeling of relaxation and a friendly satisfaction.
Written by – Pauline Korp.