Dear Sir/MadamI am writing to introduce you to our small travelling theatre group who have been currently working on one of Shakespeare's most infamous comedies, 'Twelfth Night'. We are hoping to stage this production at a reputable and well established theatre such as the Haymarket and I feel that the play would be very much successful if staged.It is thought that 'Twelfth Night or What you Will' had its first performance back in 1602, just over four hundred years ago.
Yet today it is still regarded as one of Shakespeare's fantastic comedies and many film versions of the production have been produced, such as the quite recent and successful one directed by Trevor Nunn in 1996.For the play to keep going and still be staged today; four hundred years after its first performance shows that it still is able to attract good audiences and will continue to most likely do so in the future. Though it was first performed in 1602 'Twelfth Night' was written a year earlier in 1601. 'Twelfth Night' actually means the feast of Epiphany, however the play is not specific to its title as its first performance was in February, therefore it became known as 'Twelfth Night or What you Will'.Shakespeare's play 'Twelfth Night' begins when a storm causes a shipwreck off the coast of the fictional country Illyria. A young women named Viola finds herself alone in this country and assuming that her twin brother Sebastian is dead she disguises herself as him and becomes a young man named "Cesario" and then works in the household of Count Orsino.
Orsino is in love with a noblewoman in the area by the name of Olivia. However she is in mourning for her father and brother and rejects any man's amorous affection especially Count Orsino's.This is until "Cesario" is sent to woo Olivia on the Counts behalf and Olivia falls for "Cesario" who is really Viola and Viola in turn has fallen for her master Count Orsino. Then to complicate matters even more Sebastian, Viola's brother who was thought to be dead arrives in Illyria and he is mistaken for "Cesario" on numerous occasions. The whole misunderstanding is soon resolved and love follows its path to unite the destined couples.
Despite this main plot there is also a joke played on Malvolio; a steward in Olivia's household , the witty humour of Feste, and side plots with the drunken Sir Toby; Olivia's uncle, and Mariah all of whom are of Olivia's household. There is also Sir Andrew Aguecheek. A friend of Sir Toby's who is desperate for Olivia's love.The main characters within this play are:Olivia, who is a wealthy, and beautiful noble lady of Illyria, she is being courted by many men and rejects their affection, but she soon falls in love with "Cesario" Orsino, who is a rich and powerful nobleman of Illyria and he is in love with Lady Olivia. Viola, who disguises herself to become "Cesario". She soon falls for her master Orsino, but also finds she is the object of Lady Olivia's affection.
Sebastian is Viola's twin brother. Olivia mistakes him for "Cesario" along with a few others when he later arrives in Illyria.Also there are other characters in the play, Malvolio, who is a strict soul and head servant of Olivia's household. He is subject to much mockery from the others such as Sir Toby, Olivia's uncle and Kinsman, Mariah; Olivia's serving lady who likes Sir Toby and also Sir Andrew a friend of Sir Toby's, a lively character who is much regarded as an idiot by the others. Two other characters in the play which are of quite importance are Antonio who cared for Sebastian after the shipwreck and also Feste, who throughout the play provides his witty comments and he is the official 'fool' of Olivia's household.
The play 'Twelfth Night is mainly a romantic comedy with many types of comic acts. Throughout the play we are presented with slapstick, bafoon like behaviour and clowning around and farce comedy (improbable and showing ludicracy), these are mostly performed by the characters of Sir Toby, and Sir Andrew. Feste provides us with witty comedy and shows us his intellectual humour.Sir Andrew " Here comes the fool I faith.
"Feste " How now my hearts? Did you never see the picture of 'We Three'?"Sir Toby " Welcome ass. Now lets have a catch." (Act 11 Scene 3)Then we are also presented with a rather cruel but amusing joke played on the character Malvolio. And other types of comedy in the plot include romantic and bawdy humour.Malvolio " Remember who commended thy yellow stockings"Olivia " Thy yellow stockings?"Malvolio " And wished to see me cross-gartered."Olivia " Cross-gartered?" ( Act 111, scene 4)In 'Twelfth Night' there are many highly amusing scenes, for example, in Act 111scene four, Malvolio thinks his mistress desires him as much as he desires her, yet it is all a joke being played on him by Sir Toby, Mariah, and Sir Andrew.
He comes in to see Olivia smiling, with yellow stockings and cross gartered thinking this is what she asked of him. He was thought to be mad since the Lady Olivia knew nothing of the sort about the letter he read, that he thought was from her.Olivia " Why how dost thy man? What is the matter with thee?"There are also comical scenes regarding Olivia and "Cesario" and, "Cesario" with Orsino.Viola " I pity you"Olivia " That's a degree to love" (Act 111 scene1)Here Olivia is asking "Cesario" to love her, yet she does not know she is pleading for love from a woman.Orsino " What dost thou know?"Viola " To well what love women to man may owe. In faith they are as true ofheart as we.
My father had a daughter loved a man as it might perhaps,were I a woman, I should your Lordship. (Act 11 scene 4)Viola is showing her own point of view on love rather that making up that of a mans. She even told Orsino that she loved him but in a roundabout way, and used somebody else as an example. 'Twelfth Night' plays with the issue of gender and the appeal of men to women and women to men which has always been successful in amusing and attracting an audience to view a play.For our own production we would like to modernize the visual scenes and stage layout so that it would be more appealing to the audience, yet the script would remain the same to continue the feel of the Elizabethan era and ensure that the true Shakespeare text is still continued. Staging a production of 'Twelfth Night' would be very successful, as romantic comedy is an appealing theme and has been all throughout history.
The first ever appearance of a court jester was in 1202 and since then jesters have developed in to more than just the idiotic fool who entertains. In this play Shakespeare creates an authentic character Feste, who is seen as a type of jester for Olivia's household. Feste often sings and makes subtle humourous comments continually showing his intellectual wit. Comedy is defined as a drama that aims to make it's audience laugh usually with a happy and amusing ending. The tradition of comedy has developed from ancient Greece and through centuries it has continually been used and been successful in amusing and attracting an audience.It is for this reason that we the think the production of 'Twelfth Night or What you Will' would be extremely successful if staged at the Haymarket Theatre, especially if staged throughout the festive season of Christmas.
Staging 'Twelfth Night' at this time would provide a good atmosphere and in no doubts it would be thoroughly enjoyed by the audience, and attendance of the play would be of a high rating. The play has been produced to provide maximum hilarity, emphasising comic scenes to ensure that it entertains well and the play meets the standard of what is expected of it, so that the audience are deeply satisfied with the performance.I hope to receive a response from you shortly to discuss further matters involving the production and the possibility of staging it. I hope that you take in to account the full potential of staging our production of 'Twelfth Night or What you Will' at the Haymarket Theatre, as I assure you the production will be a great success.