Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Something About Twelfth Night

To Sir Toby!

Twelfth Night is a festival in some branches of Christianity taking place on the last night of the Twelve Days of Christmas, marking the coming of the Epiphany. Different traditions mark the date of Twelfth Night on either 5 January or 6 January, depending on which day one considers to be the first of the Twelve Days: 25 or 26 December.

You've heard the term, I'm sure, probably tied to William Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night which was written to be performed as a Twelfth Night entertainment. The earliest known performance took place at Middle Temple Hall, one of the Inns of Court, on Candlemas night, February 2, 1602. Years...decades...okay, a couple centuries...later, members of the College of Saint Teresa (Minnesota) Speech and Drama Department performed the play to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth.

As the college was women-only, men from outside the student body were enlisted for male roles. When it wasn't possible to find participants from the nearby Saint Mary's or Winona State College, male faculty members - such as John Bellairs, who taught on campus between 1963 and 1965 - were either recruited or volunteered.

As such, Bellairs performed the role of Sir Toby Belch, pictured above.

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