‘Twelfth Night is a story of impossible love’-Discuss
Play is love but some people left loveless Malvolio, Antonio, Olivia
We instantly recognise the shallowness of the love in the following characters; all of them are easily tricked. Therefore, the idea of self-love is seen as absurd. Duke Orsino is clearly only in love with the idea of love itself and views Olivia as merely the object of his foolish love. Sir Andrew is so full of self-pity that it is almost impossible for him to love Olivia. Because Malvolio is blinded by his own self love, his apparent "love" for Olivia is presented as utter idiocy. Olivia is sparked by pride while searching for love. Even the love between Sir Toby ...view middle of the document...
What makes Olivia believe the lie of Malvolio's fault is the hysteria generated by the whispering half truths and exaggerations caused by the deceptive machinations of Belch and Maria.
All this is not standard fare. The character of Malvolio is problematic in any viewing. It should be enough to provoke re-examination of the work in creating a production. What if Malvolio was a male approaching sixty years of age? What would that say of his desire for Olivia whom he knew since she was a child?
However you play it, Malvolio provokes discussion as to what the production is really about.
In the Daramalan Theatre Company production, our concern has primarily been with the notion of identity and illusion. This led to the masquerade motiff. Having seen woeful productions that offerend no explanation for the confusion of Sebastian with Viola, we had to find a reason why confusion existed. Do directors who haven't tried to grapple with this point imagine that Shakespeare had no explanation or reason other than the twins looking similar?
Surely at a deeper level there is something to do with what makes genders express in the ways they do. What makes male and female attractive to each other! Where are the demarcations ambiguous? And what sparks fear of same sex attraction? Fear that finds expression in cultural codes of behaviour and laws? Fear that finds its way in the human creation and expression of god's will? Do we imagine Shakespeare wasn't concerned with issues of this nature?
And isn't there something in the narcissus myth of males and females seeking their own reflections in the image of the other? These questions rose up when we approached Twelfth Night for a primarily young audience in 2008. Nothing is definitive. Yet all is part of a continuum. Shakespeare didn't write science text books. We as a theatre company are not scientists. Yet we deal with a human laboritory of what makes us tick and how we relate to the universe. We try to draw on what we observe. We conceptualize. We explore through a form. We express. Nothing is taken for granted. Nothing is sacred. Everything is open for examination.
The following text from a play by Giordano Bruno is instructive for our work:
"Behold in the candle borne by this Chandler, to whom I give birth, that which shall clarify certain shadows of ideas ... I need not instruct you of my belief. Time gives all and takes all away; everything changes but nothing perishes. One only is immutable, eternal and ever endures, one and the same with itself. With this philosophy my spirit grows, my mind expands. Whereof, however obscure the night may be, I await the daybreak, and they who dwell in day look for night ... Rejoice therefore, and keep whole, if you can, and return love for love."
Love as a Cause of Suffering
Twelfth Night is a romantic comedy, and romantic love is the play’s main focus. Despite the fact that the play offers a happy ending, in which the various lovers find one another and achieve...