Words, Words, Words: Twelfth Night

Words Words Words - Twelfth Night Long

In ‘Words, Words, Words’, our new blog series, we focus on some of our favourite Shakespeare quotes from the full list of Shakespeare plays. You’ll see that the Bard wrote some really sumptuous lines – unbelievable utterances, many of which are still in use today.

We begin with some marvellous mots from our forthcoming production of Twelfth Night. Here, Director James Farrell chooses some cracking lines from an array of Twelfth Night characters, and tells us why he loves them so…


1. “If music be the food of love, play on.” – Orsino

James says: What a great opening to a play! And probably one of Shakespeare’s most famous lines.


2. “What country friend is this?” – Viola

This is not necessarily a famous line but one that means a lot to me as it became the title of a series of plays I worked on at the RSC and where I learnt most about directing Shakespeare’s texts.


3. “And with a green and yellow melancholy she sat like patience on a monument, smiling at grief.” – Viola

I love the imagery in this line. It’s so moving.


4. “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.” – Malvolio

Again, a really famous line. It’s filled with such joy, only for everything to be snatched away.


5. “Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun, it shines everywhere.” – Feste

There’s a great statue based on this line (delivered by Feste, the fool in Twelfth Night) in Stratford-upon-Avon that I loved way before I realised it was from Twelfth Night.


6. “Love sought is good, but given unsought better.” – Olivia

How true!


7. “You are now sailed into the north of my lady’s opinion; where you will hang like an icicle on a Dutchman’s beard.” – Fabian

Again, not a terribly famous line but what great imagery. How awful to be that low in someone’s opinion.


8. “An apple, cleft in two, is not more twin than these two creatures.” – Antonio

The joy of a HandleBards version of Twelfth Night is that one actor plays both Viola and Sebastian. You are never going to have two actors look more similar!


9. “Most wonderful!” – Olivia

I love that this is Olivia’s reaction to seeing two Cesarios. What did she have in mind I wonder…?


10. “I’ll be revenged on the whole pack of you.” – Malvolio

I’ve often wondered what Malvolio’s revenge would be. There’s a play in that somewhere…

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Thanks, James! And thanks William Shakespeare. That man could really string a sentence together, couldn’t he…

Twelfth Night is touring the UK from May to September 2018, find a show near you – here.


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