18 November 2013

MET meets Twelfe Night, Or What You Will

A week long trip to New York culminated with a trippingly on the tongue production of Shakespeare's Twelfe Night on Broadway. The Globe Theatre's troupe is putting on a show-and I do mean a show-it's stellar- exultant.

Time at the Met is always important when I'm in New York. I never cease to be awed by the collections. Their Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500–1800 Exhibition is one not to be missed. I am often discussing the overlap-the sharing-the trading of countries to my clients. China creating Chinese porcelains for the French- Palampore textiles sent from India to the European market.  
It's the exchange of these cultural gifts that makes a room-a design- exciting-and invariably authentic. 

"When in France-do as the Chinese do"-or something like that. 

AT the MET
(all selections below are from the MET Exhibition site, and linked to each work in my text)


The power of  the Past-the AUTHENTIC-is, well-powerful. Surprisingly, this is the Met's first major exhibition devoted to the grand tour of textile design over three centuries. 
It is something to see-it is stellar- exultant-


Paul Chahidi as Maria in Twelfe Night at the Belasco Theatre

Get thee to the Belasco-and get there early. The Globe Theatre's Shakespearean troupe is getting into costume and makeup on stage in front of the audiences very eyes each night before one of their two alternating productions at the Belasco Theatre. A sight to behold, the company is doing it all authentically-just as if Shakespeare was watching from the wings. It's mesmerizing to see the pains these actors-an all male cast-go through to become the ladies of Shakespeare's Twelfe Night. Dressers discreetly tuck, trim, sew and lace actors into ruffs, cuffs, skirts-not to mention spackle and powder them into mask like Elizabethan maquillage. There's no other way of saying it-it's as authentic as it gets.

 Mark Rylance being womanized
and Aft.

"And all is semblative a woman's part." WS- Twelfe Night

Mark Rylance as the mourning and lovesick Olivia

The costumes-too-are equally authentic-painstakingly so. All the materials for them have been matched closely in fiber content to what was available in London during the 1590's and 1600's. Layers-linen to start for both men, and men playing women- followed by a farthingale, a silk petticoat, a corset, a gown, a neck ruff, wrist ruffs, a girdle, stockings and garters but only for the lady men. They must feel duly womanized by the time the play begins.

 In addition to these trappings-Countess Olivia-played by Rylance, a performance not to be topped I say, dons a silk veil, coronet, lace hat, a jeweled head-tyre, a wire rebato, white gloves with jet beading, a silk velvet cloak, sleeve panels and an embroidered  forepart-hand made, or hand stitched or both-of course.

Portait of Anna Rosina Tanck,1642 painted by Michael Hirt, (in a wired rebato)

Authenticity is the byword of the Met's exhibition-Shakespeare's Twelfe Night, and this fall's New York trip on a whole.
I did get to see her too-and it doesn't get much more real than that.
She, by the way, is playing at the Frick.

The Girl with the Pearl Earring, by Vermeer

about the play's costumes: from the Playbill notes by Jenny Tiramani, Designer
images of the play from Broadway.com, NY Times, NY Daily News, Portland Theatre Scene
Interwoven Globe at the Met here
Broadway's Twelfe Night  here



  1. ......Or The Frick--my favorite museum.

  2. I saw Twelfth Night two weeks ago. INCREDIBLE! Just seeing the costume and make up work happening on stage prior to the show beginning was thrilling. And then....WOW! The production is perfection! I am so glad to see a blogger talking about this. Thank you for letting me relive it with you!
    Jeffery McCullough

  3. How fabulous your trip to New York sounds! I would love to see the Shakespeare production as well as the art at the Met. And The Girl at The Frick! I can't think of a more perfect setting! Makes me want to get on a plane this minute.



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