In the kingdom of Illyria, a nobleman named Orsino lies around listening to music, pining away for the love of Lady Olivia. He cannot have her because she is in mourning for her dead brother and refuses to entertain any proposals of marriage. Meanwhile, off the coast, a storm has caused a terrible shipwreck. A young, aristocratic-born woman named Viola is swept onto the Illyrian shore. Finding herself alone in a strange land, she assumes that her twin brother, Sebastian, has been drowned in the wreck, and tries to figure out what sort of work she can do. She decides to disguise herself as a man, taking on the name of Cesario, and goes to work in the household of Duke Orsino.
Cesario quickly becomes a favourite of Orsino, who makes Cesario his page. Viola finds herself falling in love with Orsino—a difficult love to pursue, as Orsino believes her to be a man. But when Orsino sends Cesario to deliver Orsino’s love messages to the disdainful Olivia, Olivia herself falls for the beautiful young Cesario, believing her to be a man. The love triangle is complete: Viola loves Orsino, Orsino loves Olivia, and Olivia loves Cesario—and everyone is miserable.
Meanwhile, we meet the other members of Olivia’s household: her rowdy drunkard of an uncle, Sir Toby; his foolish friend, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, who is trying in his hopeless way to court Olivia; Olivia’s witty and pretty serving-woman, Maria; Feste, the clever clown of the house; and Malvolio, the dour, prudish steward of Olivia’s household. When Sir Toby and the others take offense at Malvolio’s constant efforts to spoil their fun, Maria engineers a practical joke to make Malvolio think that Olivia is in love with him. She forges a letter, supposedly from Olivia, addressed to her beloved. Malvolio finds the letter, assumes that it is addressed to him, and happily follows its commands. He behaves so strangely that Olivia comes to think that he is mad.
Meanwhile, Sebastian, who is still alive after all but believes his sister Viola to be dead, arrives in Illyria, along with his friend and protector, Antonio. Antonio has cared for Sebastian since the shipwreck and is passionately attached to the young man—so much so that he follows him to Orsino’s domain, in spite of the fact that he and Orsino are old enemies.
Sir Andrew, observing Olivia’s attraction to Cesario, challenges Cesario to a duel. Sir Toby, who sees the prospective duel as entertaining fun, eggs Sir Andrew on. However, when Sebastian—who looks just like the disguised Viola—appears on the scene, Sir Andrew and Sir Toby end up coming to blows with Sebastian, thinking that he is Cesario. Olivia enters amid the confusion. Encountering Sebastian and thinking that he is Cesario, she asks him to marry her. Meanwhile, Antonio has been arrested by Orsino’s officers and now begs Cesario for help, mistaking him for Sebastian. Viola denies knowing Antonio, and Antonio is dragged off, crying out that Sebastian has betrayed him. Suddenly, Viola has newfound hope that her brother may be alive.
Malvolio’s supposed madness has allowed the gleeful Maria, Toby, and the rest to lock Malvolio into a small, dark room for his treatment, and they torment him at will. Feste dresses up as “Sir Topas,” a priest, and pretends to examine Malvolio, declaring him definitely insane in spite of his protests. However, Sir Toby begins to think better of the joke, and they allow Malvolio to send a letter to Olivia, in which he asks to be released.
Eventually, Viola (still disguised as Cesario) and Orsino make their way to Olivia’s house, where Olivia welcomes Cesario as her new husband, thinking him to be Sebastian, whom she has just married. Orsino is furious, but then Sebastian himself appears on the scene, and all is revealed.
(Synopsis adapted from SparkNotes.com)
September 4-5-6, 2001
Director: Katrina Middelburg
Assistant director: Joost Uding
Stage Manager: Nisrin Al-Rubayee
Set and Props: Lou Schwachöfer, Arthur Luiten, Rob Pieschel, Anne van de Geest, Judith Reijnen, Maarten Hulshoff
Costumes: Cathelijne van Oijen
Make-up: Siema Ramdas, Mary Lou Buys, Cathelijne van Oijen, Rally Schwachöfer, Martina Noteboom
Voice coaching: Rias van den Doel, Martina Notenboom
Poster design: Kitty van Oosten
Booklet: Rob Pieschel, Wim Teuling
Viola: Anne van der Krogt
Orsino: Moni Ghaoui
Olivia: Annelies Driessen
Sir Toby: Ruud van der Zalm
Sir Andrew: Egbert Langras
Maria: Catharina de Bakker
Feste: Frits Heldeweg
Malvolio: Herman Duchenne
Fabian: Julia Lintelo
Sebastian: Matthijs van Zuilen
Antonio: Niels Klok
Valentine: Marion Elenbaas
Sea captain: Hester Bergsma
Servant: Rob Pieschel
Priest: Hester Bergsma
Officer: Rob Pieschel