Saturday, September 21, 2013

Theatre 2002 - Twelfth Night at the Middle Temple Hall

Eddie Redmayne made his first professional on-stage appearance in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night in 2002
Article about the play by Paul Taylor was published in The Independant Feb 2 2002

Twelfth Night has returned to Middle Temple Hall 400 years after its first performance. 
Paul Taylor discusses ‘authentic Shakespeare’ with Mark Rylance, its astounding Olivia.
The author about Eddie (excerpt from the article)
"I tell him that I think that Eddie Redmayne (the undergraduate from Trinity College, Cambridge who is scandalously persuasive as Viola) would bring out the bisexual in any man. " - full article 

HE WENT to study art history at Cambridge and after his first year got a call from, the casting director for London's Globe Theatre.``She had got my name through the head of drama at my old school. The Globe had been commissioned by Middle Temple Hall to stage a 400th anniversary production of Twelfth Night as it had first been staged there. 
``They had this idea of going back to the original production and having boys play the women.'' 
Some days later while drinking in a London pub, he got a call asking if he was in London. Could he go over to the Globe right then for a second audition? 
"I was quite tipsy and that may have helped as it was the most terrifying recall of my life.''But he got the job playing Viola.``There was a lot of cross dressing,corsets and that sort of thing.'' It was all worth while including visits to the production by Prince Charles and a host of agents -Redmayne was soon picked up by one of London's top theatricalagencies.  (source)

Eddie's costume test and the result, his clothes in the play. He had to wear corset.

“I was a boy playing a girl playing a boy,” he told W magazine. “I had to wear a whalebone corset. To this day, when actresses on set start whining to me about the pain of their corsets, I say, ‘I’ve been there. It’s not that bad.’”

( x )
Orsino is in love with Olivia, but Olivia is in love with Cesario. 
Which would be bad enough, but Cesario is actually Viola - a girl dressed as a boy.
Viola is in love with Orsino. Viola and Sebastian are twins. Both think the other one is dead.
Meanwhile, Malvolio thinks Olivia loves him. She REALLY doesn't.

You can read the full text of "Twelfth Night" at
Twelfth Night: Entire Play 
You can find a full synopsis of "Twelfth Night" at

Eddie's co-star in Les Miserables Anne Hathaway also played Viola in the summer of 2009 in NYC.

Update: November 13, 2013
Q&A: Mark Rylance on Shakespeare, Twelfth Night and Richard III (full article)
The great Shakespearean actor is taking New York theater by storm. Here he talks about his various characters.
By Adam FeldmanWed Nov 13 2013
"This production was created [by Shakespear's Globe Theatre] for the 400th anniversary of the first recorded version of Twelfth Night, in 1602, which took place at a hall that still stands in London called the Middle Temple Hall. We were invited to create an original-practices production of Twelfth Night there. This was maybe our fourth or fifth attempt at all-male original practices. As artistic director at that time, I actually wanted to play the fool, Feste. But we realized that we were going to need some very young boys—Eddie Redmayne was actually the first boy to play Viola, and he was not yet a professional actor; he was still in the equivalent to an English high school—and we felt that it would be better for me to be amongst the boys playing girls, because I had a little bit more experience."

Update: December 7, 2013
Boys Will Be Girls — The Waxing, Wigs, Couture and Corsets of 
Shakespeare's Leading Ladies (full article)
Shakespeare can also be painful. Very painful.
"In our first production, where Eddie Redmayne was Viola," recalled Paul Chahidi (who played Maria) of a 2002 Twelfth Night with Rylance, "I went to the waxing parlor with Eddie. We were sent to some backstreet waxing parlor — I don't think they'd ever had men there. We went in thinking, 'How bad could this be?' We went into adjacent rooms — the walls were paper-thin — and all you could hear were our screams."

Update: April 3, 2014

For full size click on the picture!

Update: May 3, 2014
In his Broadway debut Paul Chahidi secured his first Tony nomination this week for the role of Maria. 


  1. I am really interested in this play, can I find the full version online?or buy it somewhere??

    1. Sorry for the late answer. Unfortunately the 2002 show with Eddie was not released on DVD, but you can buy the 2012 revival with Samuel Barnett playing Viola. Even the costumes are the same. It's available on Amazon and on ebay too


Your comment can be published after moderation