Performance In Twelfth Night

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* Write an essay about the theme of performance in Twelfth Night.
Few things are as central to a discussion on the theme of performance in Twelfth Night than characterization – that is to say, the function of writing, conceptualizing, and interpreting the fictional personas in the play. Scholarly stances on the issue differ vastly, but the key pivot in this essay – its underlying assumption – shall be that the play’s framing of gender, via the lens of gender-bending, establishes a space in which the performance of gender (on stage, within the world of the play, and within the world of its performers and audiences) is opened for discussion and the gendering of bodies may be assessed.
In the case of Twelfth Night, academic analyses often employ
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Among scholars of Shakespeare, these characters’ stories (or perhaps, if we are to assume a position that rejects characters’ ownership over their fates, the stories these narrative shells depict) fuel speculation on authorial experience and intent. Rather than bestowing fictional people with personhood as a matter of preeminence, some performances (addressed further below) capitalize on their inherent fluidity. Within these depictions, the variability of characterization is laid out even more broadly, and attention is actively drawn to how decisions by those that stage Twelfth Night shape its enduring cultural conceptualization. This is not all to say that adaptations that stick to established convention fail to demonstrate just how much performance adds onto, and even guides, text. Even the most traditional staging, such as one that strives for historical recreation and authenticity, carries and reveals the impact and the burden of interpretation and characterization. Nevertheless, certain adaptations make a point of overtly highlighting such …show more content…
What’s written and what’s played, in tandem, create the genealogy of Twelfth Night. Theme, therefore, as an analytical term, must encompass not only what it written and explicitly observable in the seemingly objective corpus of the play, but it must also address the thematic elements present in the creation and transmission of the play. Considerations on casting doubtlessly play an integral role (pun intended) in the writing process. Resultantly, the theme of performance occupies two realms: the play as a story and the play as a deliberate framework for realization. Incidentally, the French term for director must be highlighted here, as it encompasses something the English does not; a réalisateur, or literally the one who realizes (note: not in the popular English sense of understanding an idea) brings a script to life. Performance and its texts demand engagement with how narrative and theme spring into the material, the tangible. That their bodily enactment fundamentally forms what plays are dictates how the conversation about gender performance in Twelfth Night is construed.
The extent to which adaptations can go while still remaining part of the canonical analysis of the play is indeterminate. Nevertheless, the lasting cultural impact of an adaptation can shape perspectives on a play, either forming how viewers or readers interpret the

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