Buy Tickets From the 2017-2018 Season: Twelfth Night Playing November 04, 2017 to November 26, 2017

A Suzi Bass Awards Recommended Show

No performance Thanksgiving

Adam King, Vinnie Mascola, Sean Kelley, Mary Ruth Ralston

A shipwreck, separated identical twins, mistaken identities, romance, revenge and one pair of yellow stockings…welcome to Orsino’s court and the zany world of Twelfth Night.

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Read the Plot Synopsis

Twelfth Night
By Laura Cole, Education Programs Director, ASC

As our play opens, Count Orsino has musicians playing for him.  He is in love with the Lady Olivia in a big, sloppy way.  He is hoping that music will overwhelm him and make him fall out of love with Olivia but it doesn’t work.  Valentine enters and tells him that Olivia will not hear Orsino’s suit of love and marriage.  She says “The Element (the Sun) it selfe, till seven years heate, shall not behold her face at ample view” She is refusing all offers of love, in mourning for her brother and father. 

We meet Viola, a young lady shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria.  She has lost her brother Sebastian in the wreck and must make do on her own.  She hears of Olivia and Orsino, and decides to disguise herself as a boy, to serve Orsino in his court.  She will do this till she can figure something else out.  The sea captain agrees to help.

Sir Toby and Sir Andrew are finding it hard to have fun drinking and carousing when Olivia insists on being in mourning.  Sir Toby has made Sir Andrew believe that Andrew could marry Olivia shortly.  They jest and talk with Maria, who doesn’t have a very high opinion of Sir Andrew, or Sir Toby, for that matter.  She doesn’t approve of the late hours he spends carousing. 

Viola appears at Orsino’s court as a boy named Cesario. She has become a favorite of Orsino’s and he decides to send Cesario to Olivia to woo her, instead of sending Valentine again.  He tells Cesario that Olivia will like him better since he looks so much like a woman.  Viola agrees to go, although she admits to us that she has already fallen in love with Orsino herself!

Now, we meet Olivia, all in black, and currently upbraiding her Fool, Feste.  He has been gone for a while, and she is in no mood to be “fooled” with.  He tries to prove to her that she is being silly for mourning her brother’s death since he is in heaven. She cheers up a bit and when Malvolio, her Steward, criticizes Feste, she defends Feste.  She tells Malvolio “you are sick of self-love” and cautions him that an “allowed fool” is a good thing.

Viola shows up at the gate, demanding to speak to Olivia.  Olivia consents to see him, veiled.  After some confusion, Viola finally sees Olivia’s face and begins to woo her for Orsino.  By the end of her visit, she has done such a good job as Cesario, that Olivia falls in love with him/her!  Viola leaves, hoping Olivia will see Orsino’s worth as a mate.  Olivia wonders at how quickly she has fallen under Cesario’s spell- “Even so quickly may one catch the plague?”

Olivia sends Malvolio off in pursuit of Cesario, to offer him a ring.  She lies and tells Malvolio that the boy left it, hoping Cesario will return, with the ring.  Viola realizes Olivia has fallen for her, in the same way that she, Viola, is in love with Orsino. 
Now, we meet Sebastian, Viola’s brother, for the first time. He is on his way to Orsino’s court.  Antonio, who saved him from drowning, would like to follow but he “has many enemies in Orsino’s court” but “I do adore thee so, that danger shall seem sport and I will go”.

Malvolio gives Viola the ring, and all her fears are confirmed.  She decides that Time shall work out her problems and goes on her way.

Later, it is late at night and Toby has been out partying with Andrew.  They invite Feste to sing for them, and wake up the whole household in the process.  Before Maria can shut them up, Malvolio enters, and threatens Sir Toby with expulsion from the house, apparently on Olivia’s orders.  Malvolio threatens Maria’s good standing with Olivia and Maria comes up with a plan to gull Malvolio into thinking Olivia is in love with him.  Maria will write a fake letter, and they plan to leave it in Malvolio’s way the next day. 

Meanwhile, Orsino has Feste sing another melancholy song for his entertainment.  Cesario tries to convince Orsino that Olivia simply will not change her mind.  Cesario tells him a story about his sister, who pined for love.  They discuss the differences between men and women’s love, but Orsino’s mind is not changed. He sends Cesario back to Olivia with more words of love. 

Toby, Maria, Andrew and Fabian all hide in the garden, and watch as Malvolio finds the
fake letter from Olivia.  He becomes so convinced Olivia loves him from what he reads in the letter that he decides to dress the way Olivia apparently wants him to dress, act snooty as she requests, and generally make a jerk of himself for her sake. 
Viola and Feste tease each other on the way to Olivia’s house then meet Toby and Andrew at the gate. Olivia again begs Cesario for his love (and Viola is torn even more).  Cesario leaves, swearing, “nevermore will I my masters tears to you deplore”.  Andrew, incensed at Cesario’s apparent success in wooing Olivia, tries to go home. Toby, seeing his meal ticket leaving, says “ Challenge me the Counts youth to fight with him, hurt him in 11 places, my Niece shall take note of it” Andrew goes off to write his challenge and Maria enters offering to show Toby something funny, in another part of the garden.

Antonio catches up with Sebastian, and we find out more about Antonio’s dark past.

Malvolio appears, in yellow stockings cross-gartered and smiling. He scares Olivia with his antics so much that she thinks he is mad.  He is sent away to a dark cell and Viola enters again to be immediately challenged by Toby, for Andrew. Viola hasn’t done anything- Toby is simply arranging all this foolishness so that he can gull some more money and a horse out of Andrew. 

Antonio shows up just as Andrew and Viola begin to duel. He thinks Viola is Sebastian, since she is wearing clothes just like Sebastian’s.  Antonio jumps to “Sebastian’s” defense and is arrested by officers. He asks “Sebastian” for money he lent his friend but of course, Viola doesn’t know what Antonio is talking about.  She doesn’t have enough money and Antonio is carried away, mourning “Oh, how vild an idol proves this God” in other words- Sebastian-Viola-Cesario.

Sebastian shows up and Andrew, thinking he is Cesario, challenges him to another duel.  Olivia shows up, rescues her sweetie, Sebastian/ Cesario, and asks him to come into the house.  Malvolio shows up in jail, tormented by Feste, who is masquerading as Sir Topas, the Curate.

Sebastian/Cesario has now fallen in love with Olivia, and agrees to marry her.  The Duke has had it with Olivia’s refusals and goes to her house, Viola in tow, to demand her love.  Antonio, officers in tow, shows up, and Orsino yells at him.  Olivia shows up, wondering why Cesario/Viola isn’t as cuddly as he was 10 minutes ago.  Andrew and Toby show up, bloody from another encounter with Cesario/Sebastian and recoil in fright from Cesario/Viola. When Sebastian appears and apologizes for hurting Toby,
everything is explained. “One face, one voice, one habit, and two persons”. Sebastian and Viola reunite, Orsino gets a surprise, Olivia gets her man, and Malvolio “will be revenged on the whole pack of you”.  Everyone, including the newly married Toby and Maria, can now live happily ever after.

Director's Notes

Directed by Kati Grace Brown

Show Information


Act One: 70 minutes / 15 minute intermission / Act Two: 70 minutes (Show will end at approx. 10:30pm/9:30pm Sunday)

Show Roles

Performances November 4-26, 2017

Dramatis Personae
Viola - Mary Ruth Ralston
Olivia - Sarah Newby Halicks
Orsino - Chris Hecke
Feste - Sean Kelley
Malvolio - Drew Reeves*
Sir Toby Belch - Vinnie Mascola
Sir Andrew Aguecheek - Adam King
Maria - Brooke Owens
Curio - Jake West
Valentine - Jake West
Captain - Glenn Lorandeau
Antonio - Andrew Houchins*
Sebastian - Kevin Roost*
Fabian - O’Neil Delapenha
1st Officer - Jake West
2nd Officer - Glenn Lorandeau
Priest - Glenn Lorandeau
Olivia’s Brother - Jake West
Fabian Understudy - Monica Malone
Antonio Understudy - Tamil Periasamy

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

Show Times
In general, shows at The Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse begin at 7:30pm, except on Sundays, when they begin at 6:30pm.

Bardometer Rating

How difficult is this Shakespearean play to grasp? On a scale of 1 to 10.
What does rating this mean?

You may already know the story and what happens at the end. But even if you don’t, the play is light and the plot is easy to follow. Limited violence, limited bawdiness (see below). There are very few things – historical, religious, or political – that you need to know ahead of time. Just enjoy!

A note about bawdiness in Shakespeare: It exists. Despite what your English teacher taught you, Shakespeare wrote some pretty saucy lines and they pop up from time to time. While there is never any nudity on stage, our actors are trained to make the text clear. If we feel a show contains a plethora of Graphic Elizabethan Poetry (or is very bloody/violent/triggering) we will put that disclaimer in the blurb about the show. It won’t happen often. If this Bardometer lists a play as a 1 or 2, you can rest assured that it is an appropriate show for kids under ten.

Additional Information