If you dig deep enough into the possible source materials that Shakespeare used for Twelfth Night, you can find a whole slew of suspects.
You want to talk twins and the confusion that can arise from mistaken identity (like The Comedy of Errors)? Check out the old Greek play, Plautus’ Menaechmi, which actually was a source of that earlier play).
If, however, you want to talk about the concept of the female disguising herself as a young male, to work for a(nother) male, who tasks her/him to plead his suit to a(nother) female, who in turn falls in love with the first female, but as the young male, who–of course–has fallen for the male who has hired her (as a him)… well, then you’ve got quite the tangle coming up.
I know, I know… I should be reading Twelfth Night.
But you know me, always playing around the work.
So here’s my latest plaything, an infographic that visually represents the Collected Works of Shakespeare. Each pixel of the full size version represents a line of text. The histories are in shades of purple (royalty, baby), comedies in green (verdant), poems in yellow (no reason), tragedies in red (duh), problem plays in brown (murky, like their genre classification), and tragicomedies in blue (again, no reason, just a vibe).
A shout-out and thanks to William Sutton, who gave me some information re: the sonnets that changes the legend/content of the graphic.
This week’s Shakespeare news review includes Benedict Cumberbatch’s turn as Hamlet next year being the most in-demand stage and theatrical tickets in the UK for this year, color conscious casting, Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s New Fellowship for Theatre Leaders, and Shakespeare as a source of business advice for CEOs and managers. PLUS our usual recap of this week’s daily highlights in Shakespearean history.