Emily Mann on Twelfth Night
For me, this production of Twelfth Night promises to be an embarrassment of riches. I wanted a Shakespeare comedy in our 2008-2009 season, and I have been eager to get the supremely talented director Rebecca Taichman to direct a production at McCarter. When I found out that Twelfth Night was one of her dream projects, I jumped at the chance to produce it.
Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies. Hilarious and sublime, it is an elegant and effervescent story, chock full of mistaken identities, antic pranks, and misguided affections. At its core are its wonderful characters (Viola, Malvolio, Orsino and Olivia), all of whom desperately long for the unattainable. Shakespeare was in prime form with this sumptuous, exhilarating play, and I can’t wait to see it seduce you as it has completely seduced me.
With this production, I am absolutely delighted to introduce McCarter audiences to Rebecca Taichman, a brilliant young director who is making waves in the American theater. I’ve been following Rebecca’s work for several years, and invited her to direct McCarter’s IN-Festival reading of Sleeping Beauty Wakes, which she carried out with great aplomb. Rebecca is one of those rare directors who combines great imagination and utter discipline. She has a great sense of color, fun, imagination, play, and humor, but she is also able to find the razor’s edge between comedy and tragedy. She has a love for beauty, and her plays are inevitably elegant; I am delighted that we will be able to offer her the historic Matthews Theatre as a canvas.
Rebecca’s production promises to fill Shakespeare’s fantastical country, Illyria, with music, longing and desire. Twelfth Night will be a co-production with The Shakespeare Theatre Company, in Washington, D.C. This company has fast become one of the most important centers for classical theater in our nation, and the quality of their work is superb. I look forward to seeing you at Twelfth Night!