Twelfth Night Programme

A classic story of girl pretending to be a boy loves boy loves girl loves girl
pretending to be a boy, Twelfth Night is Shakespeare’s most popular love triangle
(occasionally love pentagon), packed with mistaken identities, gender-swapping
twins and picnicking pirates.
Let yourself be taken to the fabled land of Illyria, where Viola, recent shipwreck survivor, decides to put on her brother’s clothes to get a position with Duke Orsino, who’s desperately in love with Countess Olivia – however, both of them promptly fall for Viola-now-Cesario. Who will end up with whom?
Watch and find out!

Act I

Orsino, Duke of lllyria, is despairing that he is spurned by the Countess Olivia. She has forsworn men’s company for seven years while she mourns the death of her brother and rebuffs all his advances. Nearby, a sea captain arrives on shore with a young girl, Viola, who he rescued from a storm at sea. Viola laments the loss of her twin brother, Sebastian, in the shipwreck. She resolves to fend for herself by dressing as a boy to get work as a page to Duke Orsino.

Despite his former rejection, Orsino sends his new page Cesario (Viola in disguise) to court Olivia for him. Cesario/Viola fell in love at first sight with her master Orsino, so she goes to court Olivia unwillingly. To make matters more complicated, Olivia continues to reject Orsino but is attracted to Cesario. She sends her proud steward, Malvolia, after him with a ring. Thus, a genuine love triangle arises between Olivia, Viola/Cesario, and Orsino.

Act II

Meanwhile, members of Olivia’s household plot to expose the self-love and aspirations of the steward, Malvolia. These include Olivia’s uncle, Sir Toby Belch, her servant, Maria, and Sir Toby’s friend, Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Sir Andrew also happens to be seeking the hand of Olivia. Together, they use a letter to trick Malvolia into believing Olivia loves her. The letter demands that Malvolia appear in yellow stockings, cross-gartered, and smiling to show her love for Olivia. After she does so, the Countess is horrified and has Malvolia shut up in the dark as a madwoman. Meanwhile, Viola’s twin brother, Sebastian, has also survived the shipwreck. He comes to Illyria with his sea-captain friend, Antonio, who is a wanted man for former piracy against Orsino.


Sir Andrew’s affections for Olivia lead him to be jealous of Cesario, and he decides to declare a duel between them. Thanks to a prank by Sir Toby, both Andrew and Cesario believe that their opponents intend to fight to the death. They both shirk the fight. However, the sea-captain Antonio passes by and mistakes Cesario for Sebastian, and intervenes to defend his friend. He is recognised by Orsino’s man, Curio, and arrested.  Later, Sebastian comes along and is challenged by Sir Andrew, who thinks he is Cesario. Sebastian, trained in combat, wins the fight. But Olivia intervenes and invites Sebastian into the house, also thinking him to be Cesario (this is clearly a common mistake). Olivia and Sebastian are married that night. 

Act IV

Malvolia, held in the dungeon for being a madwoman, is psychologically tortured by Maria, Sir Toby, and Feste, the court fool. After realising that they might get into trouble for treating Malvolia this way, they allow her a pen and paper to be able to write a letter to Olivia. 

Act V

Antonio is brought to talk with Orsino, and upon seeing Cesario, he accuses him of betrayal. Just then, the real Sebastian arrives to apologise for fighting Sir Toby. The twins see each other and discover that they are both alive. Orsino’s fool, Feste, brings a letter from Malvolia, and on her release, Maria’s letter is revealed to be fraudulent. Malvolia departs promising revenge.

Originally the play ends as Orsino approves the union between Olivia and Sebastian.  Realising his own attraction to ‘Cesario’, Orsino promises that once Viola is dressed as a woman again, they will be married as well.

In our version, we highlight the inherent queerness in “Twelfth Night” by removing the sudden reversion to heteronormativity at the end of the play. In our version, Viola/Cesario realises they are trans throughout the play and remains by Orsino to be his husband. The marriage between Olivia and Sebastian is also played as a lavender marriage, with Olivia instead realising her feelings for the dependable Malvolia, and Sebastian staying with his companion, Antonio.

Director: Alex Distelberger
Costume: Teresa Distelberger & Teodora Guran
Sound Design: Alex Distelberger
Lighting Design: Alex Distelberger
Stage/Props: Teodora Guran
Viola: Bea Leodolter
Captain: Emilia Wess
Sebastian: Ezra Stöger
Antonio: Sai Wöbking
Orsino: Teresa Distelberger
Curio: Emilia Wess
Olivia: Elanna Kovacs
Maria: Holli Rappensberger
Sir Toby: Alex Distelberger
Sir Andrew: Marie Krebs
Malvolia: Marlies Petritsch
Feste: Ximena Kalss

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