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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: November ::
Re: "most wonderful"--Twelfth Night
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2629  Tuesday, 20 November 2001

[1]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Monday, 19 Nov 2001 08:22:20 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2621 Re: "most wonderful"--Twelfth

[2]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <
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        Date:   Monday, 19 Nov 2001 09:12:33 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2621 Re: "most wonderful"--Twelfth Night


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Monday, 19 Nov 2001 08:22:20 -0800
Subject: 12.2621 Re: "most wonderful"--Twelfth Night
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2621 Re: "most wonderful"--Twelfth Night

M. Yawney wrote,

>For the joke of a twin play to work, it is important that the twins do
>NOT look too much alike. The audience must be able to tell them apart.
>If they look too much alike, the audience will share the other
>character's confusion, rather than standing outside it and finding it
>funny.

Actually, experience suggests otherwise.  Several productions have had
the same actor playing one or both twins, which requires some slight of
hand for the last scene.  Perhaps this was done most famously by Des
Barrit at the RSC a decade ago, in Ian Judge's production.  The audience
was able to figure it out.

All the best,
Mike Jensen

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa D. Aaron <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 19 Nov 2001 09:12:33 -0800
Subject: 12.2621 Re: "most wonderful"--Twelfth Night
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2621 Re: "most wonderful"--Twelfth Night

>If we (the hypothetical Globe audience) are meant to believe that a boy
>is a girl simply because of a dress and a wig, then what need we one
>pair of twins if they wear identical clothing and wigs? Reason not the
>need.
>
>If it would have been difficult to find one pair of twins, how could
>they find two for Comedy of Errors?  The answer has to be the same as it
>is for many of Shakespeare's plays: costuming. Julia (Two Gents), Viola,
>Rosalind and Celia, as well as Imogen are a few examples of telegraphing
>to the audience that costume changes will signify deception to the
>play's characters regarding the subject's gender or identity.  The humor
>in Comedy of Errors derives from the fact that we are not made aware of
>the deception and fall into the trap of the device. Twins may have been
>used, but were certainly not necessary.

I've been meaning to mention for a while a remark made by an Italian
17th century actor:  I'm almost certainly it was Giambattista Andreini.
He mentions a play in which he and his father had to play identical
twins.  While there may have been some family resemblance, there was
also a large age gap.  He specifically says that identical costuming was
used to convey the idea of identical appearance.

Melissa D. Aaron
Cal Poly Pomona

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