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The Globe Theatre Production of ​Twelfth Night​: A Reaction

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at JHU chapter.

Tim Carroll directs an outrageously comical production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at the Globe Theater in London. Brilliantly cast with all male actors, the characters create a transcendent performance for the audience to enjoy. The premise of Twelfth Night is a love triangle that is “too hard a knot …t’untie!” (Shakespeare 2.2.40-41). Between Viola’s love for Orsino, Orsino’s love for Olivia, and Olivia’s love for Viola (Cesario), gender confusion is an evident theme. In establishing the farcical love triangle in Twelfth Night, Shakespeare includes cross-dressing as a key role in the character’s actions; the male cast in the Globe Production adds an element of clever satire to this already facetious notion.

Three time Tony Award winner and British actor and director, Mark Rylance steals the stage with his riveting portrayal of Duchess Olivia. Captivating the audience with his talent, Rylance not only plays the character Olivia, but also brings her to life. One of the ways in which Mark Rylance is so successful in illustrating Olivia’s character is his personable depiction of her feelings. When Olivia meets Cesario, an immediate fascination and crush begins to configure. The audience may or may not be privy to this knowledge beforehand, but because of Rylance’s smitten stutter, flushed cheeks, and question of his parentage, the audience is able to gauge Olivia’s adoration for Cesario. Correspondingly, Olivia’s reaction to Malvolio is equally as revealing and comical. Malvolio has taken it upon himself to act as Olivia’s suitor based upon Maria’s ludicrous letter. Once Olivia requests for him, he enters, wearing an unbreakable grin and yellow stockings. Olivia abhors the color yellow. She exclaims, with apparent voice inflection: “Malvoli-Oh!” This reaction is met with tumultuous laughter throughout the theater. Mark Rylance’s exceptional depiction of Olivia causes the play to come to life. Rylance’s presence stands out on the stage; however the complete cast – talented and skilled in the artistry of not only acting but personifying the fictional characters – providesa stellar performance.

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