Shakespeare: Twelfth Night Productions

1602 ‘Twelfth Night’ First Performed:- Lord Chamberlain’s Man (Middle Temple)- Also named ‘What You Will’.- Presumably written for Elizabeth I.
1623 King’s Servant: – Performed ‘Malvolio’ (adaption of play).- Displaying the character’s popularity.
1640 Leonard Diggs: – Praised Malvolio in his poem through the line “The Cockpit Galleries, Bones, all are full/ To hear Malvolio that crosse garter’d Gull.”
1865 Olympic- Viola and Sebastian played by same actress (Kate Terry)
1884 Henry Irving: – Portrayed Malvolio as tragic character/heavy buffoon. – Was a turning point for theatrical interpretation of the character.- Not well-received at the time.
1894 Augustin Daly: – Cut Malvolio from the final scene.- Very popular production. – Later productions even cut the entire dark room scene.- Invented pardon of Antonio from Orsino in the final act.
1912 Barker’s Savoy Production: – Orsino’s palace with pink and green triangles as backdrop; he is dressed in bright pink. – First non-realist interpretation; dream-like quality.
1955 Laurence Olivier: – Portrayed Malvolio with a fake posh accent, affected by a lisp and barrow-boy vowels. – Vivien Leigh played Viola.
1969 John Barton: – Emphasis on festivity.- Maria as an elderly sinister.- Orsino as a dangerous youth.- Malvolio exiting with the intention to commit suicide.
1974 Peter Gill: – Focus on psychoanalysis/erotic self-love. – Relates Malvolio to Narcissus. – Sexual confusion emphasised with lots of physical contact (e.g. Olivia touching Malvolio).- Orsino is bisexual.
1996 Trevor Nunn (film adaptation):- Feste (played by Ben Kingsley) looks over the cliff and sees Viola arriving to Illyria after the shipwreck. He picks up the necklace she accidentally leaves behind, and returns it to her at the end of the play. This accentuates Feste’s role as an observer/commentator who controls the misrule.- Viola even wears a beard in her disguise as Cesario.
2004 Stephen Beresford:- Adapted into context of Indian Caste system; comedy between members of early modern class hierarchy. – Feste’s song becomes a Bollywood number; frisson of sexual ambiguity when he tries to drag Viola/Cesario into the number.
2012 Tim Carroll/The Globe:- All-male cast.- Recreate original production of play.- Mark Rylance as Olivia, aggressively attacks Toby Belch (with a stick).- Stephen Fry as Malvolio, dark room scene with head popping out of trapdoor.
2016 Bedlam Production:- 2 alternate performances/entirely different versions of comedy, played on same night by same cast.- First in street clothes: Minimal set (table), director comments on action and addresses actors by name.- Second as ‘What You Will’: High concept in all white costumes, red paint (dreamlike).- Edmund Lewis as Malvolio: Contrast uptight, quiet (sympathetic) v. comical, egotistic. Both comes from same spot of deep insecurity.
2017 Simon Godwin/National Theatre:- Contemporary Setting- Idea of gender fluidity emphasised through water (swimming pool, water fountain and raining).- Tamsin Grieg as Malvolia, element of sympathy and shame emphasised through Broadway number/embarrassing costume and femininity. – Dark room scene stripped back; contrast to set/atmosphere of the rest of the play.- Shipwreck and fights shown.