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Twelfth Night (Folger Shakespeare Library) Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2004
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up-William Shakespeare's comedy of disguised and deceptive love is entertainingly brought to listeners on these high-quality audiocassettes. Using the complete text from the New Cambridge Shakespeare text, the production presents a full cast of accomplished Shakespearean actors and actresses who skillfully convey the emotion and meaning, confusion and humor of this popular play. When twins Sebastian and Viola are shipwrecked and separated off the coast of Illyria, each believes the other is dead. Viola disguises herself as a boy, becomes a page of Duke Orsinio, and falls in love with him. The Duke is hopelessly in love with Olivia, but she is in the process of mourning her brother's death and becomes infatuated with Viola as she/he delivers messages for the Duke. When Sebastian shows up, Olivia confuses him with the Duke's page (Olivia) and marries the astonished young man. All is cleared up eventually when Viola and Sebatian meet and recognize each other. In the midst of all of this romantic confusion, servants and family members provide comic relief with their pompous, pretentious, and sometimes inebriated behavior. Early English music and excellent sound effects are sparingly included, yet add greatly to this performance. Reading along with the text is optional as the production moves at an easy-to-follow pace, and characterizations are clear and captivating. A booklet with background and a synopsis of the play, photos and descriptions of each cast member, and starting points for each scene on the proper tape side is a useful addition. For its entertainment value or as a supplement to the curriculum, this excellent audioplay is highly recommended.
Marilyn Higgins, Metuchen High School, NJ
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Gr. 3-6. The latest in Coville's series of retold Shakespearean plays, this volume provides a short, prose version of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, a romantic comedy that offers young people such promising elements as separated twins, a woman disguised as a man, a drunken buffoon, courtship, swordplay, mistaken identity, and a practical joke. Though simplified, the story is intact and bits of the original language are preserved. Large-scale ink drawings, warmed with tints of color and shaded with cross-hatching, clearly depict the action. As Coville states in his Author's Note, "Twelfth Night remains one of the most read and performed of Shakespeare's plays." Children looking for a preperformance introduction to the play's twisting plot will find this an appealing choice. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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As for the play, it is a classic comedy. Quite a few moments that had me burst out into laughter! That being said, it is Shakespeare, so nothing will seem funny until you get a firm grasp on the language.
The twins Viola and Sebastian are parallels to Olivia's love story in certain ways. Ship-wrecked on Ilyria, the twins believe each other has been drowned. In her attempt to survive, Viola disguises herself as a young man and becomes servant to Orsino, who immediately likes his young page Cesario. Cesario (Viola)quickly becomes a confidant to Orsino, who sends Cesario off to woo Olivia for him. Olivia falls for Cesario and eventually wants to wed him. The plot develops as the love story switches gears.
Another great character is Feste, the fool, whose role in court is to speak the truth without repercussions. His ridiculous superficial words belie his shrewdness. Characters who tolerate the fool are the good characters (like Olivia) and those who do not are villains (like Malvolio). But Shakespeare doesn't allow Malvolio to be a stock character. When he is the victim of horrendous pranks, Olivia and the audience feel sorrow for his belittlement. Feste is the final speaker of the play, and his poignant words reveal a measured, mature picture of life which is anything but simple. We are encouraged to live life fully and to enjoy it.
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