Twelfth Night!

Twelfth Night!
January 6, 2017

“On the twelfth day of Christmas
my true love gave to me

Twelve Drummers Drumming!”

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“If music be the food of love, play on!”
-Duke Orsino Twelfth Night Act I, scene I by William Shakespeare

Nevermind the religion…
Twelfth Night on January 6th has always been the date we use to mark the end of the winter Holiday Season. Also, it’s the name of a Shakespeare play that we like. And if they’re going to sell Christmas for 3 months beforehand, we should get to appreciate and celebrate the entire Twelve Days of Christmas! This year (2017) Twelfth Night (January 6th) falls on a Friday, so we get to extend the holiday for one more weekend, even though we’re expecting a monster storm to hit hard in Los Angeles Saturday through Monday.

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Originally a Catholic holiday, the Feast of the Epiphany, the actual Elizabethan festival of Twelfth Night became a day of revelry. Servants dressed as their masters, men dressed as women and women as men. The festive ritual and role reversal was based on the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia. It involved the antics of a Lord of Misrule, who before leaving his temporary position of authority, would call for entertainment, songs and mummery: comedic plays performed by costumed amateur actors (traditionally all male) at feasts and functions in exchange for money and/or food.

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“Some are born great, some achieve greatness,
and some have greatness thrown upon them.”
– Feste, the Clown

Shakespeare’s comedic play “Twelfth Night, or What You Will” was written to be performed as a Twelfth Night entertainment. The earliest known performance took place at Middle Temple Hall on Candlemas night, February 2, 1602, the formal end of Christmastide in England. It may have been staged a year earlier in a private performance for Elizabeth I before the Court at Whitehall Palace on Twelfth Night, January 6th, 1601.

The influence of English folk tradition can be found in the play, particularly in Feste the clown’s songs and dialogue. Many elements are reversed in the tradition of Twelfth Night: a woman dressing as a man, and a servant imagining that he can become a nobleman. Shakespeare also chose to fictionalized Illyria, an ancient region in southern Europe on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, as the romantic setting for the story.

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Twelfth Night or What You Will” by William Shakespeare

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The Wisdom of Feste the Clown:jester-with-puppet

“Well, God give them wisdom that have it; and those 
that are fools, let them use their talents.”

“Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage”

“Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun, 
it shines every where.”

“Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.”

“There is no darkness but ignorance.”

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Feste’s Song (at the conclusion of Act V):

“When that I was and a little tiny boy, 
    With hey, ho, the wind and the rain, 
A foolish thing was but a toy, 
    For the rain it raineth every day. 
But when I came to man’s estate, 
    With hey, ho, the wind and the rain, 
’Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate, 
    For the rain it raineth every day. 
But when I came, alas! to wive, 
    With hey, ho, the wind and the rain, 
By swaggering could I never thrive, 
    For the rain it raineth every day. 
But when I came unto my beds, 
    With hey, ho, the wind and the rain, 
With toss-pots still had drunken heads, 
    For the rain it raineth every day. 
A great while ago the world begun, 
    With hey, ho, the wind and the rain, 
But that’s all one, our play is done, 
    And we’ll strive to please you every day.”
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So, is it really unlucky to leave Christmas decorations hanging after Twelfth Night?

Generate your own Elizabethan Oath, Curse or Insult > http://www.renfaire.com/Language/insults.html

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Oregon Shakespeare Festival Twelfth Night 2016

 

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…And a Partridge in a Pear Tree!


GOOD SHABBOS! Shabbat Shalom!
Happy Twelfth Night! Let’s Feast!

“Old Christmas is past, Twelfth Night is the last,
And we bid you adieu, great joy to the new!”

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On The Menu: NY Steak, sautéed onions, roasted red potatoes, steamed broccoli & carrots, bread & butter and an iced espresso. Later for dessert, 2 chocolate covered custard filled donuts and an espresso.

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William Shakespeare RIP: poet, playwright, actor-Died April 23, 1616

William Shakespeare RIP: poet, playwright & actor
A great writer and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist
England’s national poet aka the “Bard of Avon”
Died April 23, 1616

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness,
and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
~William Shakespeare ‘Twelfth Night’

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The playwright was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Warwickshire market town, and returned there when he retired.

  • Born in 1564, and the earliest record of his writing dates from 1592
  • Wrote around 38 full plays (including Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello and Macbeth), 154 sonnets and other works.
  • Words including “assassination”, “addiction”, “generous” and “bedroom” had their first recorded uses in his plays
  • Introduced phrases like “elbow room”, “heart of gold” and “tower of strength” to the English language
  • Acted as well as wrote, and owned a share in the original Globe theatre
  • Died on 23 April 1616, aged 52

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Greg Bell as Shakespeare at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Agoura 1985

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The Reduced Shakespeare Company (original members) performed “Hamlet” and “Romeo & Juliet” on the Caravanserie Stage at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Novato, California 1984-87

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Jess, Adam & Daniel – The Reduced Shakespeare Company Original Members

When we were in college in Santa Cruz we worked for the University of California, Santa Cruz, Performing Arts Department and the Living History Centre (the producers of the Renaissance Pleasure Faire & Dickens’ Christmas Fair) in Black Point, Novato, California.

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Shakespeare Santa Cruz 1984

“And, most dear actors, eat no onions or garlic, for we are to utter sweet breath; and I do not doubt but to hear them say, it is a sweet comedy.”
~ A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Act 4, Sc 2

In 1989, we traveled to Stratford-upon-Avon and London, England as a consultant to Homer “Murph” Swander’s “Theatre in England” (associated with UC Santa Barbara).

We saw 13 plays in 3 weeks at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s theaters in Stratford, and at The Pit, the National and Barbican in London. We saw Mark Rylance perform the title role of “Hamlet” in pajamas in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the role of Romeo in “Romeo & Juliet” in The Swan Theatre. We also saw “Two Gentlemen of Verona”, “Cymbeline”, “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” and many other non-Shakespearean classical performances. We even saw Dustin Hoffman perform Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice” in London (his first time doing Shakespeare on stage).

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Mark Rylance as the title character in the RSC’s “Hamlet” 1989

NOTE: While in Stratford-upon-Avon, we had the pleasure to meet and drink with many of the RSC actors after the performances at the Falcon Hotel Bar across the street from the theatre. In addition, some of the RSC actors spoke, performed and answered questions at scheduled daytime meetings of our travel group. We also toured Broughton Castle.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival:

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Oregon Shakespeare Festival – Allen Elizabethan Theatre’s Stage

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Oregon Shakespeare Festival Spring 2016 http://wp.me/p3dhVM-3c4

Past OSF Performances we’ve attended (only a partial list of course):

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37 Plays! How many have you read? How many have you seen?

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Shakespeare Doodles (thanks http://www.goodticklebrain.com)

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Some Shakespeare Infographics:

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Some Shakespeare Insults:

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Some Shakespeare Humor:

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Shakespeare is buried in the cemetery at the Church of the Trinity in Stratford.

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Church of the Trinity – Stratford-upon-Avon, England

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Oregon Shakespeare Festival Spring 2016 http://wp.me/p3dhVM-3c4

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UPDATED Saturday, February 11, 2017

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