The theme of January meme for LRP event hosted by Listra from Half-Filled Attic is Stage/Film Adaptation. Honestly, I prefer films than stage performance. Therefore I am writing about 2 film adaptations (modern versus period drama) of the play I read last month, Twelfth Night (Or What You Will), by William Shakespeare. I have written a review of the play here.
Like I said on the review, my first acquaintance with this play was actually with a teen romantic comedy titled “She’s The Man” (2006), directed by Andy Fickman. Amanda Bynes was Viola and Channing Tatum was Duke Orsino (yes, THAT Channing Tatum :D). “Duke” in this adaptation is the first name of Orsino. Viola was a tomboyish, high-spirited high school student who likes to play soccer. But then female soccer in her school got challenged by the coach. So female soccer no more.
Her twin brother, Sebastian, was enrolled in a school called Illyria but he prefers to perform with his band in London. Seeing the chance that her brother would be away for some time, and he would not show up at Illyria; Viola took this chance to disguise herself as her brother to achieve one goal: enter the well-reputed soccer team of Illyria. We’ll see her efforts to pretend to be a young man and to make it in the team in a whole lot of funny scenes. There was also Olivia, who was the school’s prettiest girl. When Viola (as Sebastian) tried to get her to like Duke, Olivia liked Sebastian instead. This movie is, pretty much, Twelfth Night plus modern day high school plus teenagers plus soccer. Amanda Bynes did a good job in bringing comedy to this film. (I like her better than Lindsay Lohan, just so you know.) 😀
She’s The Man trailer:
And now the other adaptation I watched just after I finished reading the play. This version directed by Trevor Nunn titled “Twelfth Night” (1996) is quite faithful to the original play, but using the set of late 19th century in Cornwall. The plot was altered a bit at the beginning—they made Messaline and Illyria at war.
The main attraction of this adaptation is the parade of wonderful cast. Imogen Stubbs played Viola (she resembled Steven Mackintosh who played Sebastian only when dressed as a man). Helena Bonham Carter was Olivia, and the handsome Toby Stephens as Orsino. Not forgetting the very pleasing Ben Kingsley as Feste the Fool (he’s my favorite!). And Imelda Staunton brought Maria’s wits into life. I’ve said it, haven’t I? It was a wonderful cast. Their performance made this 2 hours 14 minutes movie really enjoyable, as well as really, really funny (hey, it’s a comedy after all!). And it has wonderful music! I just love hearing Feste singing. But, the last scene when the two couples kissed and Viola held out her hand to her brother’s, that’s just…awkward. (Sorry for the spoiler!) But overall, this adaptation is really worth watching.
Twelfth Night trailer:
And this is one song from Twelfth Night sung by Feste (Ben Kingsley), The Wind and the Rain. This is also the final scene of the film, so beware of spoilers!
So, which one do I like the most? Of course Trevor Nunn’s Twelfth Night. But She’s The Man wasn’t a bad modern adaptation of it as well, I think. Both adaptations are funny in their own styles; just pick one which is closest to your taste and mood.
Well, then. One more proof that Shakespeare lives beyond centuries.