It’s Shakespeare season. You know, when multiple places around the United States (and the world) start launching productions of Shakespeare’s plays. Several years ago I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a Shakespeare Festival with my parents and see some live productions in a traditional format.
The first Shakespearian play I saw was Twelfth Night. And what an excellent starter. I can’t recall a play that I’ve attended where I laughed harder. And this confirmed to me the notorious statement made about Shakespeare’s plays:
Shakespeare’s plays are meant to be seen, not read.
I didn’t read Twelfth Night before I went. I read the playbill’s introduction and I don’t feel like I missed much. In fact, I think I may have enjoyed it more. I had no expectations of what faces Malvolio would react to. I didn't imagine where stage direction would be beforehand. It was great.
My favorite moment that sticks years later is the moment when Viola’s identity is revealed (spoiler alert, sorry). And it was not because of what Viola particularly did, but rather Orsino’s face after he realized that Viola was not his male servant Cesario. I found the greatest humor in the actors’ reactions and the constant motif of gender uncertainty and ambiguity. The fun was in how the text was interpreted rather than just the text.
If Twelfth Night ever comes to town again I plan on seeing it again, it's an excellent Shakespearean comedy to watch.
What Shakespeare play do you want to see?