Shakespeare Saturday: A Twelfth Night Feste-val

BOOM. Look at that puntastic title.

OK. Welcome to the first of our Shakespeare-a-palooza Saturdays. For those of you who’ve been here before, you know what this day is. If not, here’s your introduction. Saturday is the day we recommend the best film and television versions of the plays we’re pairing this month. In the case of the Shakespeare, I expect this to be easy. There’s always adaptations of Shakespeare. Well… maybe not for Timon. But I’m not in charge of finding adaptations of Timon, so… *wipes forehead in relief*

A mentioned on Monday that She’s the Man is our favorite adaptation of this play. She’s right. Mostly because it’s the first adaptation ever that makes Orsino likable. And it’s peak Amanda Bynes before… well… whatever happened to Amanda Bynes. The only thing that I wish it might have kept was more of the Malvolio storyline, which is actually the best part of the play.

That’s a thing I’ve noticed about Shakespeare’s comedies. A lot of the time, it’s the subplots that are the most exciting part. Technically, Beatrice and Benedick are a subplot. So is the breaking of Malvolio. The Rude Mechanicals. Shakespeare seems to express himself better through the subplots, the parts that are exclusively his creation. Everything else is the formula. Well, maybe Taming of the Shrew is the exception…

Anyway. There’s also the 1996 version directed by Trevor Nunn, which for some reason decided to cut down on the comedy. Why you would do that in a comedy, I have no idea. Especially one like this, where the comedy is what saves it from being ridiculous. A lot of people forget the other half of Orsino’s line (“if music be the food of love, play on”) is literally him saying play so much music, I get sick and puke so I won’t be in love anymore. Seriously, guys… Why would anyone choose to play that straight?

For those of you who remember the old days when Disney Channel movies were AWESOME, Motocrossed is actually an adaptation. For some reason, this play seems to do best when it’s put into the world of competitive sport.

And, of course, there’s the requisite Branagh adaptation, which was a filmed version of his stage version.

Lots of choices here, though the best is definitely the teen soccer film.

C

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