My Familiarity with the Story
I was not familiar with this story before I watched the movie. I had never heard the names of the characters or the existence of any theatrical or video production of Twelfth Night. I had only seen its title in one library in my high school.
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The story is about a lady, Viola, who disguises her real identity because she wishes to work for the duke. The duke employs her as a page and sends her to the woman he loves, Olivia. Ironically, Viola is in love with the duke and wishes he loved her instead of Olivia. She devotedly works for the duke. Her main task is convincing Olivia to fall in love with Duke Orsino. When she meets Olivia, she falls in love with her. Olivia does not even pay attention to the duke’s message. She just wants to be with Cesario.
Olivia meets Sebastian but thinks he is Viola. He falls in love with her but does not tell her his real name. Coincidentally, Viola brings Duke Orsino to meet Olivia. This scene unites Olivia, Viola, Duke Orsino, and Sebastian. Sebastian identifies Cesario as her sister, Viola. She confesses having disguised herself as a man.
Seeing the seriousness of the love affair between Olivia and Sebastian, Duke Orsino gives her up and decides to have Viola as her mistress. Olivia also falls in love with Viola’s brother and readily agrees to relinquish her love for Cesario because of him.
The main conflict in the story develops because of Viola’s false identity. She disguises herself as a gentleman, causing much confusion among other characters. The duke believes that she is a gentleman and sends her to Olivia. Olivia falls in love with her. She does not tell her the reason she cannot return her love. The conflict develops further when Sebastian appears, and Olivia mistakes him for Viola.
The mood of the Production
The story has a happy ending. Paul Kafnon retains Shakespeare’s way of solving the conflict. He introduces Sebastian when Viola is worried about how to tell Olivia that she is a woman and cannot love her. Being identical to Viola, Sebastian easily takes up Viola’s position as the man Olivia loves. On the other hand, the duke falls in love with Viola and gives up on Olivia. The play ends when the two couples are kissing, having accepted what fate had brought them.
Shakespeare sets the play on the twelfth day after Christmas. This day was a very big holiday during the Elizabethan era. The actions take place in Illyria, mostly outside Olivia’s house. Some actions take place at the duke’s palace. There is snow everywhere, indicating that Paul Kafnon sets the production in winter just as the original story.
Most of the elements of design are very appropriate. The lighting is also very good. All the scenes in the production take place during the day outside Olivia’s house. Therefore, lighting is not a problem.
Kafnon carefully chooses the costumes for every character. For example, Olivia and Duke Orsino dress like respectable people. Their gowns and suits are very expensive. Andrew dresses like a real knight. At one point, he puts on a royal military suit. The hair of many of the characters is also appropriate, except for Olivia’s hair. She would look more masculine if her hair were shorter than it is.
The main theme in the story is the absurdity of love. Sometimes, people love people who do not feel anything for them. Others love people they did not love before. Viola loves Duke Orsino but he does not love her. However, he decides to have her as a mistress to show gratitude for her service. On the other hand, the duke loves Olivia but she does not love him. The only person she claims to love is Cesario. When she realizes that she cannot have Cesario, she decides to love Sebastian.