Shakespeare’s wonderfully poetic comedy Twelfth Night, also known as What You Will centres on mistaken identity and on how men and women are transformed by love, or promise of love.
Illyria, the setting of Twelfth Night, is important to the play’s romantic atmosphere. Illyria was an ancient region encompassing the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea which is the coasts of modern day Croatia. It included the city state of the Republic of Ragusa which has been proposed as the setting of the play.
In Illyria, Duke Orsino is sick with love with Lady Olivia, who is in mourning for her recently deceased father and brother. To honour their memory, she has sworn to live like a nun for seven years and refuses to receive any messages from Orsino. On the coast of Illyria, Viola and a ship’s captain are washed ashore following a shipwreck in which Viola believes her twin brother, Sebastian, has died. For protection, she disguises herself as a young man (called Cesario) and gains employment in Orsino’s household, where (s)he quickly becomes a favourite…
Twelfth Night was a time of revelry, in which the norms of society were inverted. Set in the early 20th century, the play will have a magical backdrop in Lovrijenac Fort, one of the most famous open air venues in this part of Europe.