#ShakespearesPlaylist: Twelfth Night

So I LOVE finding songs to fit the mood of #Shakespeare plays. Basically every time I hear a song I love on the radio, I think about how I could fit it into a production. I can’t help it. My brain just does that, which is funny, because I’ve only directed one production (my own one-act) and questioned myself and my abilities the entire time, so I don’t necessarily see myself directing anything else any time soon, but I just like to dream about the music anyway.

I’ve decided to play with this habit of mine more and make full-fledged Spotify and Youtube playlists for each play by Shakespeare, under the umbrella name and hashtag #ShakespearesPlaylist .

So Twelfth Night has long been one of my favorite Shakespeare plays (like, since age 10) and I’ve performed in it twice myself, so the summary and song list in this post are longer than any I’ve written so far in this series! I just can’t help myself, I really love this play, hah.

The Britches and Hose Production of Twelfth Night in 2011. I was Viola!

The Britches and Hose Production of Twelfth Night in 2011. I was Viola!

The Britches and Hose Production of Twelfth Night in 2017. I was a wandering singing musician person - we called ourselves the Festettes!

The Britches and Hose Production of Twelfth Night in 2017. I was a wandering singing musician person - we called ourselves the Festettes!

Quick Wikipedia Summary: Viola is shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria. Believing that her twin brother Sebastian is dead, she disguises herself as a young man under the name Cesario and enters the service of Duke Orsino. Duke Orsino has convinced himself that he is in love with the noble lady Olivia, who is mourning the recent deaths of her father and brother and refuses to see any men or entertainments. Duke Orsino then uses 'Cesario' as an intermediary to profess his passionate love before Olivia. Olivia, however, falls in love with 'Cesario', setting her at odds with her professed duty. In the meantime, Viola has fallen in love with Duke Orsino, creating a love triangle: Viola loves Duke Orsino, Duke Orsino loves Olivia, and Olivia loves Viola disguised as Cesario.

In the comic subplot, several characters conspire to make Olivia's pompous steward, Malvolio, believe that Olivia has fallen for him. This involves Olivia's riotous uncle, Sir Toby Belch; another would-be suitor, a silly squire named Sir Andrew Aguecheek; her servants Maria and Fabian; and her melancholy fool, Feste. Through a fake love letter, Malvolio is encouraged to make a fool of himself in front of Olivia, who is convinced that he is mad and leaves him to be cared for by his tormentors. Pretending that Malvolio is insane, they lock him up in a dark chamber. Feste visits him to mock his insanity, both disguised as a priest and as himself. Sir Toby later marries Maria for this jest. When Malvolio is finally released, he swears revenge on all who conspired against him.

Meanwhile, Viola's twin, Sebastian, has been rescued by Antonio, a sea captain who previously fought against Orsino, yet who accompanies Sebastian to Illyria, despite the danger, because of his admiration for Sebastian. Sebastian's appearance adds the confusion of mistaken identities to the comedy. Taking Sebastian for 'Cesario', Olivia asks him to marry her, and they are secretly married in a church. Finally, when 'Cesario' and Sebastian appear in the presence of both Olivia and Orsino, there is more wonder and confusion at their physical similarity. At this point, Viola reveals her identity and is reunited with her twin brother. The play ends in a declaration of marriage between Duke Orsino and Viola.

I chose “Hey Brother” by Avcii to demonstrate the familial love between Viola and Sebastian. Both of them believe the other has drowned in the crash and are pretty devastated about it. The chorus in particular fits this storyline:

What if I'm far from home?
Oh brother, I will hear you call!
What if I lose it all?
Oh sister, I will help you out!
Oh, if the sky comes falling down, for you
There's nothing in this world I wouldn't do

Amy Winehouse’s cover of “To Know Him is to Love Him” is a perfect illustration of Viola’s love for Duke Orsino.

To know know know him
Is to love love love him
Just to see that smile
Makes my life worthwhile

Why can't he see?
How blind here he be?
Someday he'll see
That he was meant just for me, oh oh oh oh

Taylor Swift’s “You Belong with Me” also represents Viola’s situation, simultaneously in love with Orsino but pretending to be his male friend, having to woo another lady on his behalf. It’s so bubblegum pop that I really resisted including it in this list, but honestly, the lyrics are so ridiculously perfect for this plotline that it had to happen.

If you can see I'm the one who understands you
Been here all along so why can't you see
You belong with me
You belong with me

Walkin' the streets with you and your worn-out jeans
I can't help thinking this is how it ought to be
Laughing on a park bench, thinking to myself
Hey isn't this easy

And you've got a smile that could light up this whole town
I haven't seen it in a while since she brought you down
You say your fine
I know you better then that
Hey what you doing with a girl like that

…I'm the one who makes you laugh
When you know you're about to cry
And I know your favorite songs
And you tell me about your dreams
I think I know where you belong
I think I know it's with me

I’ve chosen Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” to represent Malvolio, who is so overproud that he willingly believes his mistress Olivia is in love with him, despite the ludicrousness of the fake love letter and the situation as a whole. He literally thinks the letter is about him!

You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain,
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?

I chose Mad World by Gary Jules to represent Sebastian’s massive confusion about arriving in Illyria. Everyone seems to know him and have strong opinions about him, but he just got there! What the heck is going on. (I’m not so certain on this choice, as I think the overall mood of the song is too melancholy for Twelfth Night, but I really want something in here about Sebastian’s POV. I may replace this one later if anyone has any good suggestions!)

The Lumineers’ “Hey Ho “is a great song to represent Feste, as Feste’s song in the show literally includes the words “Hey Ho, the wind and the rain.” Plus, the laid-back troubador style of Hey Ho works really well for Feste’s casual and humorous approach to life.

Finally, here’s a video of an actual production of Twelfth Night which I actually was in. It’s the final song in the show, The Rain it Raineth, with music by Dave Seidman-Joria. Feste in this version is played by Sam Stenecker! Then from left to right in the back is: Lauren Sutton, Leandra Lyn, Megan Fraedrich, Rachael Dickson (my non-writing superhero alter ego), and Dan Clark.

Wedding Craft Tutorial: Shakespeare and Glitter Flower Girl Scatter

Glitter and Shakespeare Heart scatter! I also painted the flower girls’ baskets bright sparkly red.

Glitter and Shakespeare Heart scatter! I also painted the flower girls’ baskets bright sparkly red.

We decided not to have any real flowers at our wedding. I have a great love for paper crafting, so I ended up making all the bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages out of paper flowers. I’ll write about that more later. :)

Anyway, my two nieces were our flower girls/ring bearers and I really wanted them to have something special to scatter down the aisle - something that actually represented me and John .

I got two little paper punches - one heart and one cherry blossom. The cherry blossom punch didn’t work too well - it was too complicated and I could never get it to cut any paper cleanly. So most of our scatter was heart shaped.

I did cut a lot of hearts out of various covers of glitter paper and other pretty papers, but I wanted something more personalized as well, even if no one would even really notice except me.

I wanted to incorporate Shakespeare somehow. I’ve been part of Shakespeare productions on and off since 2010, and was a founding member of the Britches and Hose Shakespeare troupe. John also loves Shakespeare and one of our first dates was going to see Julius Caesar at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Our wedding ceremony included Shakespeare quotes from Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III, Julius Caesar, and Henry V. I even walked down the aisle to a version of “Sigh Not So” from the 1992 Kenneth Branagh film of Much Ado About Nothing!

A friend of mine had an awesome master document of Shakespeare quotes for various situations; I took that doc, put all the text in a pretty cursive font, and removed all the lines and paragraph breaks and such until I had several solid pages of Shakespeare text. I printed that document out on both sides of some nice leftover resume paper I had lying around. And then, all I had to do was cut the remaining white margins off the paper and bam - I had my own personalized Shakespeare stationery. I used it for the flower girl scatter and also for a few of the roses in my bouquet and my bridesmaids’ bouquets. :)

Again, it was a tiny detail and I’m not sure anyone else noticed it at all, but it made me very happy, and it was super simple. When I walked down the aisle, my cathedral length veil ended up catching the scatter and pulling them along with me. People started laughing and it was amazing; it resulted in one of my favorite photos from the day!

Anyone else is welcome to use my Shakespeare stationery as well! You can download a pdf of it on Google Drive here.