Shakespeare Society: Twelfth Night

West End Library

Shakespeare Society: Twelfth Night

What appeals to you -- Netflix and chill or Amazon Prime and commitment? Whatever your choice, either preference reveals a risk for excess and indolence. Binge watching all eleven seasons of The Walking Dead with your sweetheart may sound like a relaxing good time, but it’s also a recipe for deep vein thrombosis and a couch full of potato chip crumbs.

Twelfth Night is no stranger to this theme of excess. In the play’s opening, Orsino famously declares,

If music be the food of love, play on

A lovely thought, no doubt, but it is the next, less famous line that takes a more sinister turn:

Give me the excess of it that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken and so die . . .

Twelfth Night is rife with intoxication and revelry where various characters push the limits of the body and spirit. Comedy ensues. But what is strange is why people are compelled to such extremes. Why is this tendency ever amusing? What other emblems of appetite and excess do we see in this play? Is the frenzied pursuit to satisfy appetites so pressing that we sink into madness and deception? Can true love resist such baseness?

On December 21, 2021, thirteen individuals gathered virtually via Webex for two hours to discuss these question and more. And if, after reading this, you’re worried having overindulged too much on junk food and streaming services, DC Library’s got you covered.

Learn more about the Shakespeare Society here.

-- My Nguyen