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Worden 1 Abigail Worden Acting for the Stage 223 Theater Journal 2 Fantastic Females in Twelfth Night When

I first began reading Twelfth Night, it was under the intention of getting a general idea of the show so that I could perform Violas second act monologue with a basic understanding of the scenario. What I didnt anticipate was being instantly drawn in and swept away by the story and the surprisingly applicable humor. This is comedy that has stood the test of time, and I found myself laughing aloud even if I didnt quite understand the joke because I could easily picture its delivery; this play is rife with opportunities for physical comedy, particularly in the scenes with Malvolio. Overall, the characters were entertainingly faulty and easy to fall in love with, and the play kept a great balance between comedy and a potentially dire situation that couldve gone either way. Usually, I like dense, rich storylines that follow an engaging plot and generally avoid filler. In Twelfth Night, the prank on Malvolio that constitutes half the show doesnt really have any significance to the main storyline, which involves Viola, but nonetheless I found it riotously entertaining. Unfortunately, the quote, some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them, is one of my favorite sayings, and finally encountering it in the context of it in the show has ruined it for me forever (even though it made me laugh). In this subplot of the play, I particularly enjoyed the character Maria. At first, I was shocked and a little confused by her sass and bitingly clever personality, given her status as a serving-woman. I had anticipated her to be forgettable and simple, but instead, even though she was a smaller part, she became one of my favorite characters. Plus, the dynamic between her and Sir Toby was lively and sort of sweet, in its own way. Theres just

Worden 2 something particularly precious about rude, snarky pranksters falling in love, especially when Tobys attraction to Maria isnt chiefly based on her looks, but rather her wit. In this era of sparkling vampires and media emphasis on body image, its refreshing to read about a man, no matter how depraved he may seem, who falls in love with a womans mind. And she earns itMarias lines pack a lot of character into a small part, and I think shes a fantastic role for any girl who wants to play someone a little spicier, compared to a character like Olivia. Even though Olivia is a considerably larger part, she suffers from the same key character flaw as the Duke: both of them are too preoccupied with the idea of wallowing in their misery and romanticizing themselves to possess the same rich personality that the other characters have. In spite of them both loving to make spectacles of themselves, they are rather unremarkable. Of course, if I had the opportunity to portray any character in Twelfth Night, it would have to be Viola. I regret that I didnt delve a little deeper when I wrote up my initial paperwork on her character. I think I was a little too afraid to be inventive and make decisions that could potentially be wrong. Now, I think I would relish in the opportunity to grow her character further, and more intricately consider the complexity of her character. For instance, upon reading it a second time, I really started to get the sense that, despite the trouble that came with it, Viola genuinely loved masquerading as a man, enjoying a sense of independence and worth that a young noblewoman never would have experienced on her own. I think trying to bring dynamic attitudes like that out into a character would be an incredible challenge, and Id love the chance to undertake it someday. I think my experience in playing male characters (and my ability to pull it off, if I do say so myself) would make me a good fit for the role. My main goal in playing Viola would be to present the character just as the play is presented as a wholea potentially dire drama that somehow retains humor. Violas plight is comedic because of the sheer absurdity of it, but by that same vein, the ridiculousness of the situation is overwhelming and

Worden 3 frightening. I think being able to capture that contradiction within her character, equal desire to laugh and scream at her unfortunate circumstances, would lead to a rich portrayal. Maria and Viola are both complex, entertaining female characters, even though one gets considerably less stage time than the other. They both possess qualities that would be considered traditionally masculine for the time period and that makes them truly stand out characters, both to an audience and to everyone they encounter throughout the show. Presented in unique circumstances, neither of them quite behaved as I anticipated, and it was this depth of character, even from little parts, that kept me reading and left me loving Twelfth Night. The main plot was terrifying and ridiculous, the subplot full of laughs and overdoses of secondhand embarrassment, and the resolution a cacophony of conflicts and intersecting storylines that made the last few pages some of the best Ive ever read.