Celebrating Shakespeare’s plays and their enduring influence on music, dance, opera, musical theatre and comedy, the British Council and Brussels Shakespeare Society are proudly presenting Twelfth Night (Brussels Shakespeare Society) directed by Tracie Ryan.
The play begins with Viola washed up on the shores of Illyria saved from a ship that sank in the storm. Her twin brother Sebastian is believed drowned and she finds herself alone and defenceless. Dressing up in male attire she changes her name to Cesario and seeks employment in the household of the Count Orsino.
Orsino is in love with the beautiful but unattainable Olivia He sends her messages of love and adoration which she dismisses. Finally he resorts to asking Cesario to court her on his behalf, his reason, he believes Cesario's youthful looks will charm Olivia into accepting his suit. Cesario reluctantly accepts to be the messenger as she has fallen deeply in love with Orsino herself.
Olivia meanwhile has taken a vow to remain cloistered in her house for 7 years to mourn the death of her brother, she will see no one. Cesario, through her wit and charm manages to gain admittance, she speaks passionately of Orsino's devotion and suffering, Olivia is indeed enchanted! Charmed by Cesario's diverting personality and beauty, she promptly falls madly in love with him.
So, Orsino loves Olivia, Olivia loves Cesario and Cesario loves Orsino!
Malvolio runs Olivia's household. He is a vain man with a joyless, disposition. He is a puritan at heart, who deeply disapproves of Sir Toby and his friend Sir Andrew Aguecheek. He dreams of rising in the world through marriage with Olivia. It is this dream and his natural conceit that makes him such an easy target.
Having angered Sir Toby and his entourage, they conspire with Maria, Olivia's lady in waiting, to fool Malvolio into believing that Olivia secretly loves him, by planting a love letter purporting to come from Olivia herself. In it she advices him to smile, be surly to others, and above all wear yellow stocking with cross gartering (a fashion Olivia detests).
Malvolio of course falls for it hook line and sinker and chaos ensues, much to the amusement of Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, Fabian and Feste.
During this time we discover that Sebastian, Viola's twin brother is far from dead, he also was delivered from the sea and has in fact turned up in Illyria like his sister. He, of course, is constantly mistaken for Cesario and she for him a situation which also has a chaotic result.
In the last act all is revealed and proper order is restored once again. Twelfth night is over.