By William Shakespeare
Directed by Bob Eaton
With original music by Bob Eaton & Greg Palmer
We invite you to join us on a magical (mystery) tour of Shakespeare's mythical lllyria
- a land of love, peace and happenings, where illusion and fantasy collide and appearances
are not quite what they seem ...
Bob Eaton has taken Shakespeare's classic tale of love, deception and trickery and
transformed it into a psychedelic musical comedy.
The 60s era lends itself perfectly as the setting for this humorous and romantic tale:
a period of free expression, of love, intoxication (in all its many forms), and above all
A fantastic cast bring some of Shakespeare's most memorable characters to life
including Graham Fellows (aka John Shuttleworth) as Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and Belgrade
favourites Katy Stephens (last seen as Carraboss in 'Sleeping Beauty') as Viola and Jeremy
Harrison (who appeared in 'She Stoops To Conquer' at The Belgrade and most recently in the
title role of 'Face' on national tour) as Orsino.
Adapting Twelfth Night
by Director Bob Eaton
There are countless ways for a director to approach a Shakespeare play. For me the
first step is to decide upon a world for the play to inhabit; a place and time where the
themes and events, the characters and their social relationships seem to fit. There are
some who would advocate doing the plays 'traditionally' but I'm not sure anyone really
knows what that means. Of course it's possible to set the plays in a reconstruction of
Elizabethan / Jacobean England, and there's nothing wrong with that. However it doesn't
seem to be the total answer since not one of Shakespeare's plays is set in the England of
his own lifetime. They are of course crammed with contemporary reference and comment and
the landscape of A Midsummer Night's Dream feels much more like Warwickshire than
Shakespeare was always ready to blend his contemporary, everyday world with the exotic
and the historical, causing for example, clocks to strike in Julius Caesar's Rome. In fact
it's often the coming together of diverse elements of time and space that gives the plays
their vigour and massive scope. And you cant really damage Shakespeare.
Alan Ayckbourn once likened Shakespeare to a beach - we all take our turns with our
buckets and spades to mess up the sand and then the tide comes in and leaves it pristine
and undamaged for the next person.
So why have I chosen to set Twelfth Night in a place rather like England in 1968? It
has a less specific geographical location than most of his other plays, being set in an
invented Illyria, which may be somewhere in the eastern Adriatic, but it seems to me the
most 'English' of his comedies. And the late sixties was, at least in out popular
mythology, a time of love, music, madness, foolery, intoxication and generally turning the
world upside down.
I feel it's important that the audience should understand the society in which the play
is being set. The society of the sixties is still very much with us, whether in the
unreliable memories of those of us who are old enough or the retro-fashion and music of
those too young to have been there. Music and love are both mentioned in the first line of
the play. In the late sixties social barriers seemed to be breaking down and it seemed
that music and love were going to change the world. Young musicians and other artists from
working class backgrounds were getting famous and rich overnight and becoming a sort of
new aristocracy with their country mansions and estates. What we didn't realise was that
we were merely enjoying a brief 'feast of fools' and that the Malvolios of the seventies,
eighties and nineties were waiting in the shadows to get their revenge on the whole pack
Love in Twelfth Night, is a form of madness and madness was distinctly cool in the
heyday of R.D. Laing. The other main ingredient of the heady mix was intoxication, which
took several new forms. The sixties also saw the advent of 'unisex', many youngsters
taking on an androgynous appearance. "You can't tell the boys from the girls"
was a common complaint of the older generation. I think this was the element that finally
convinced me that this was the soil in which Twelfth Night could flourish.
Some may find the setting irreverent but I think that's very much in keeping with the
spirit of the play. The subtitle of the play "What You Will" is an invitation to
take liberties which I find irresistible. I mean if you can't do what you want with
"What You Will", when can you ... man? Love and Peace.
MORE INFORMATION: Cath Pitkethly 01203 846 703