© Photo of John Tramper, courtesy of Shakespeare's Globe
The Globe’s 2002 production of Twelfth Night was the culmination of its experiments with ‘Original Practices’, i.e. recreating and replicating as many of the performance practices of Shakespeare’s own company as possible, such as all-male casting and handmade, authentically Elizabethan costumes.
Women were not allowed to perform on the public stage in England unto 1660 and so female roles in Shakespeare’s time were played by younger male actors. In this Original Practices production, Olivia is played by Mark Rylance.
The clothing, designed by Jenny Tiramani and made by hand using 16th-century techniques and fabrics, is a reproduction of a 16th-century Italian noblewoman’s dress. The gown is constructed from a length of cut and uncut black silk velvet with a strapwork design, worn over a white linen smock, a pair of boned silk bodies (corset), a Spanish farthingale (a hooped skirt), and panels of Indian embroidery. Wrist ruffs gave Rylance’s hands a more feminine appearance.