Theatre Review: Twelfth Night by Independent Shakespeare Company

Long-time readers know how much I love the Independent Shakespeare Company. They have a vibe that throws caution (and convention) to the wind. They bring an energy and interaction with the audience that is simply infectious. So the bar is pretty freakin’ high whenever I see one of their shows. And last night, I went to see this summer’s free production of Twelfth Night in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park.

High bar. High expectations.

Continue reading “Theatre Review: Twelfth Night by Independent Shakespeare Company”

Podcast 95: Twelfth Night: Directorial Concept, Cast, and Wrap-Up


This week’s podcast concludes our two month-long discussion of Twelfth Night, with a directorial concept, a look back, and a wrap-up of the play.

Continue reading “Podcast 95: Twelfth Night: Directorial Concept, Cast, and Wrap-Up”

Twelfth Night: midpoint

Using Professor Rodes’ midpoint theory, let’s take a look at Twelfth Night.

There are 2462 lines in in the play, which means the midpoint is at line 1231, or at Act Three, Scene One, line 65. Now, Rodes’ theory postulated that you could find (within twenty lines either way) a speech that perfectly summed up the major theme of the play. The 20-line leeway was to help remove the differences in prose line lengths between individual editions; and in a play with as much prose as Twelfth Night (63% of the lines are prose), this forty-line window seems to be all the more important.

Continue reading “Twelfth Night: midpoint”

Twelfth Night: it’s a mad, mad, mad, mad play

So, for the past few days I’ve looked at the meanings and occurrences of some words in Twelfth Night and within the Canon as a whole, “Puritan” and “gull,” in specific.

But there’s another word/set of words/concepts that seemed to be popping up some frequency during my repeated readings: “mad”-man/nessness, and its Elizabethan brethren, “distract.”

Continue reading “Twelfth Night: it’s a mad, mad, mad, mad play”

Twelfth Night: Puritanical Shorthand

I’m going to start this post seemingly off-topic.

Last week, Jon Stewart announced his upcoming departure from The Daily Show. Stewart, if you’re going to label him, is a liberal. Now watching the show on television (or online, if you’re a cord-cutter) can be a fairly enjoyable experience, no matter where you sit on the socio-political spectrum. There’s enough stuff there needling everyone, that even non-liberals can find something to laugh at. In person, however, you get a different vibe (even from just listening to the broadcast): here, the audience is a little more rabidly left-wing, as you can tell whenever Stewart ridicules conservative philosophy. It could be said that he doesn’t even have to ridicule conservative thinking, all the has to do is mention it to get a rise out of his audience. “Conservative” for his audience has become a kind a shorthand, encompassing an veritable cornacorpia of political, fiscal, military, and social sins in the eyes of his live audience.

Why do I mention this?

Stewart isn’t the first to do this. I would argue that Shakespeare did it over 400 years ago in Twelfth Night. Only then it was not “conservative” that was the shorthand, bur rather “Puritan” that was the red-meat for the groundlings.

Continue reading “Twelfth Night: Puritanical Shorthand”

Twelfth Night: see gull(ing)

Ah, the home stretch of a play’s discussion… you know what that means: concordances and dictionaries.

I love to see how Shakespeare employed different words (and their meanings) in various plays. For today, I’d like to look at the idea of the “gull” and “gulling.”

As a noun, a “gull” is “a credulous person; one easily imposed upon; a dupe, simpleton, fool” (“gull, n.3; 1” Oxford English Dictionary Online. Oxford University Press, December 2014. Web. 15 February 2014.); as a verb, “to make a gull of; to dupe, cheat” (“gull, v.3; 1” OED).

In all the plays of the Canon, Shakespeare uses one form or the other of the word only 11 times. It’s used twice in Henry V, and once apiece in Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Richard III, and Timon of Athens. That totals six uses. The remainder, all five, are in Twelfth Night.

In other words, almost half of the instances Shakespeare used the word in all his plays happen in this play.

Continue reading “Twelfth Night: see gull(ing)”

Twelfth Night: Songs

A few months back, I mentioned that As You Like It had the most songs of any Shakespeare play. But as I read Twelfth Night, this one feels more musical. So, let’s take a look.

Continue reading “Twelfth Night: Songs”