So the month is coming to an end, and so is the discussion. What’s the verdict?
I like Twelfth Night. Really like it. Love it, actually.
While it doesn’t supplant A Midsummer Night’s Dream as my favorite comedy (and by favorite, I mean enjoyable rather than admirable), it does bump everyone else (including its twin-comedy brother The Comedy of Errors, which had been number two) down. And though Midsummer may be the most enjoyable for me, I do think Twelfth Night is the better play.
It works on so many different levels. Pure comedy. Sight gags. Social satire. Dirty jokes. A world order turned upside-down, commenting on sociological matters. A commentary snapshot of entertainment for Shakespeare’s audience. And all of it is accessible and playable (meaning it’s not just great on the page but on the stage as well).
Yes, I know, there’s that nasty bit of cruelty with Malvolio. But it works on the page, when you take into account the political shorthand the phrase “Puritan” carried with it, and thus it would have worked onstage at the time of its creation. Onstage in a modern setting? Well, there I’m not quite sure.
Onstage. This play has caused me to really think about concepts and casts. It has taken me in directions I’ve never thought about before as you just heard earlier.
But back to this post and this wrap up.
Sorry for you who are late to the party: I love Titus, sue me.
I put Twelfth Night right up there at number two for comedies. And overall? Way up there as well. I said I loved it, so you shouldn’t be surprised to see it crack my Top Five at number four (remember, this is personal opinion, so Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Titus Andronicus still sit at the top).
Love this play, hate to see it go. But we have to… Because there’s a certain melancholic Dane lurking in the shadows, waiting to enter and speak the speech.