© Colin Willoughby / ArenaPal
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 until 1660 and so female roles in Shakespeare’s time were played by younger male actors. In this Original Practices production, Viola is played by Michael Brown, further complicating the cross-dressed disguise she assumes.
The clothes for the twins Viola (disguised as Cesario) and Sebastian were made according to strict historical guidelines. The designer Jenny Tiramani and her team took inspiration from contemporary portraits to create a look for Cesario and Sebastian that resembled the fashions for young men around the year 1600. The Renaissance clothes, which were considerably tighter than the beautiful but inauthentic costumes worn in films such as Shakespeare in Love, had a considerable impact upon the way the actors walked, sat, danced and even gestured on stage.