Last week, a friend of mine got a group together to see Twelfth Night with Stephen Fry. Stephen Fry was as funny and amazing as ever in his role of Malvolio, and I also particularly liked Sir Andrew, played by Angus Wright. All in all it was a great performance and made for an excellent evening.
Every time we read Shakespeare in high school, (which was very frequently) our teachers always emphasized that a Shakespeare play was meant to be seen and not read. It is a play after all, but in the end I did end up reading Shakespeare frequently and seeing Shakespeare performed rather infrequently by comparison. Twelfth Night was not one of the plays that I read in high school, and while I knew the general gist of the story, I enjoyed going into the performance with a relatively blank slate. And it was much more enjoyable to watch a performance than to read it. I remember pouring through Shakespeare in high school, talking about what in the language or the situation of a scene made a particular comment funny, or crude, or sad. A lot of it had to be explained. But when you watch a play, that all is laid out in front of you. It’s funny because the actor makes it so, which also helped with the understanding of Shakespearean language.
Shakespeare plays are probably one of the more adaptable genres out there. So many modern day movies are based on Shakespeare’s works. West Side Story is Romeo and Juliet, 10 Things I Hate About You is The Taming of the Shrew, and She’s The Man is Twelfth Night. Adaptations are fun (see my post about Jane Austen) but with this production of Twelfth Night the company went full on authentic – right down to the all male cast.
Personally, I really enjoyed the authenticity of the production. It is so easy to see an adaptation of Shakespeare, but it is rare to see a full on authentic production, and that was what set this one apart in my opinion. That and the excellent acting. And Stephen Fry, of course.
If anyone is looking for a good production to go to in New York I highly recommend this one.