Twelfth Night: Or What You Will

Synopsis: Brother and sister Viola and Sebastian, who are not only very close but look a great deal alike, are in a shipwreck, and both think the other dead. When she lands in a foreign country, Viola dresses as her brother and adopts the name Cesario, becoming a trusted friend and confidante to the Count Orsino. Orsino is madly in love with the lady Olivia, who is in mourning due to her brother's recent death, which she uses as an excuse to avoid seeing the count, whom she does not love. He sends Cesario to do his wooing, and Olivia falls in love with the disguised maiden. Things get more complicated in this bittersweet Shakespeare comedy when a moronic nobleman, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and a self-important servant, Malvolio, get caught up in the schemes of Olivia's uncle, the obese, alcoholic Sir Toby, who leads each to believe Olivia loves him. As well, Sebastian surfaces in the area, and of course there is Feste, the wise fool, around to keep everything in perspective and to marvel, like we th
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director(s): Trevor Nunn
Production: New Line Home Entertainment
  1 win & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
134 min

I'll tell the tale

now listen to me

With a hey ho

the wind and the rain

but merry or sad

Which shall it be?

For the rain... it raineth every day

Once upon Twelfth Night,

or what you will

aboard a ship, bound home

to Messaline

The festive company

dressed for mascarade and singing songs

to each other and amusing

delight into the rest in two young twins

the storm has forced their vessel

from her course

And now they strike

upon submerging rocks

uncertain of what two leave

and what to save

A brother and sister, often

since their father's death

have but themselves

alone in the whole world

deep currents and the

sinking bark above them

divide what had not

ever been kept apart

the poor survivors

reach an alien shore

For Messaline, with this country,

is at war.

What country, friends, is this?

This is Illyria, lady.

And what should I do in Illyria?

My brother...

he is in Elysium.

Perchance he is not drown'd?

My Lady Viola... It is perchance

that yourself were saved.

My poor brother!


The war between their kingdom and ours

Too often has led to bloody arguments

We must not be discovered

in this place

Who governs here?

-The Duke. Orsino


I heard my father name him

he was a bachelor then.

- So he is now. Or was so very late.

It is said no woman

may approach his court

but from one month ago 'twas fresh in murmur

that he did seek the love of fair Olivia.

What's she?

-That's her! Olivia!

Daughter of a Count who

died some twelve months since

Her brother has lately also died.

And in her grief, it is said she has abjured

the sight and company of men.

O that I served that lady

That were hard to compass

Because she will admit no kind of suit,

No, not the duke's.

I prithee...

...Be my aid. For such disguise as haply

shall become the form of my intent.

I'll serve this duke:

Thou shall present me as a boy to him:

It may be worth thy pains for I can sing

And speak to him in many sorts of music

That will allow me very worth his service.

Oh, I thank thee!



If music be the food of love, play on

Give me... excess of it

... surfeiting,

The appetite may sicken, and so...

... die.

That strain again!

it had a dying fall:

O, it came o'er my ear

like the sweet sound,

That breathes upon a bank of violets,

Stealing and giving odour!


no more!

'Tis not so sweet now

as it was before.

How now!... what news of Olivia?

-So please my lord, I might not be admitted

But from her handmaid do return this answer:

"The element itself, till seven years' heat,

Shall not behold her face at ample view "

"But, like a cloistress..."

"... all this to season a brother's dead love, which she would

keep fresh and lasting in her sad remembrance."

O, she that hath a heart

of that fine frame

To pay this debt of love but to a brother,

My Lord Orsino...

Here comes the Count!

-Who saw Cesario, ho?

-On your attendance, my lord here.


Thou know'st no less but all

I have unclasp'd

to thee the book even of my secret soul:

Therefore, good youth,

address thy gait unto her

Stand at her doors, and tell them : there

thy fixed foot shall grow till thou have audience.

Sure, my noble lord, if she be so abandon'd to her sorrow

as it is spoke, she never will admit me.

Be clamorous

and leap all civil bounds!

Say I do speak with her, my lord,

what then?

Then unfold

the passion of my love,

It shall become thee well

to act my woes

She will attend it better in thy youth

- I think not so, my Lord.

Dear lad, believe it

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Trevor Nunn

Sir Trevor Robert Nunn, CBE (born 14 January 1940) is an English theatre director. Nunn has been the Artistic Director for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre, and, currently, the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. He has directed dramas for the stage, like Macbeth, as well as opera and musicals, such as Cats (1981) and Les Misérables (1985). Nunn has been nominated for the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical, the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play, the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Director, and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Musical, winning Tonys for Cats, Les Misérables, and Nicholas Nickleby and the Olivier Awards for productions of Summerfolk, The Merchant of Venice, Troilus and Cressida, and Nicholas Nickleby. In 2008 The Telegraph named him among the most influential people in British culture. He has also directed works for film and television. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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