Footsbarn presents Twelfth Night
Directed by: Sadie Jemmett
Original music: Sadie Jemmett
Decor: Fredericka Hayter
Production: Footsbarn Theatre
Twelfth Night … or what you will
After twins, Sebastian, and Viola, are shipwrecked at the start of the play, Viola must figure out a way to survive in the foreign land of Illyria.
Since Countess Olivia, the only potential female protector is too distraught over her brother’s death to receive any visitors, Viola decides that her second-best course of action will be to enter the service of Duke Orsino.
As part of her survival scheme, she discards her gown and masks her female gender with the disguise of a male page. Her masculine clothing proves to be such a convincing disguise that several characters–Feste, Olivia, Antonio, and Sir Andrew–confuse her outright with her brother Sebastian– her twin brother.
Here they encounter new social norms, which leads them to fall in love and explore a spectrum of sexuality and fluctuating gender binary, the likes of which they have never experienced, swept along in a frolic of live music, original songs, and classic comedy clowning.
In a great body of work spanning over 50 years, there are not many Shakespeare plays that Footsbarn have not put their original style and iconic name to, but Twelfth Night is one, which is why we felt that it was high time we tackled this most bold and bittersweet masterpiece.
Now, perhaps more than any other time, this play comes into its own by exploring the themes of gender identity that our young generation are bringing to the world’s attention.
Viola and Sebastian’s uncanny sameness points towards the duality and interchangeability of gender identity and suggests that discrete binary gender is itself a myth.
Footsbarn’s Twelfth Night will premiere at their home in France in April 2024 and then tour the UK throughout May.
- Email artistic director Sadie Jemmett for more information.