Come celebrate the return of Shakespeare to the SAAC stage and spend the Twelfth Night of Christmas with friends. Kick off the Carnival Season with sweet treats and lots of laughs!

12th Night on 5th

Monday, January 5th
in the SAAC Gallery 6-8pm

All thespians and lovers
of Shakespeare welcome!!

– and next week come back for –

Auditions January 12 & 13

Attend Either or Both Nights
Registration Begins at 5:30pm
Auditions at 6:00pm
Audition sides available at 12th Night on 5th.

Show February 27 – March 8

Celebrate Twelfth Night
The Twelfth Night production staff and friends are hosting a gathering on the 12th Night of Christmas, January 5th, in the SAAC galleries 6-8pm. Thespians young and old are invited to enjoy a evening of revelry, music and comedy. Whether you have been in a Shakespeare show at SAAC, want to be in a Shakespeare show at SAAC, or just like Shakespeare, this night is for you. In the time honored tradition of the holiday, the evening will include wassail, sweet treats, music, bards and mummers. Join us about 6:30 for the live Shakespearian inspired entertaiment by your friends, including improv by cast of the Gimme A Second, stand-up by Darrin Riley, and a Star Wars Trilogy spoof a la Shakespeare. For anyone interested in audition for “Twelfth Night” the next week the event is a must. Find the director, ask questions, pick up the scene readings, get an audition from. See you there!!!

It is defined by the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary as “the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking”. There is some confusion, however, as to which night is Twelfth Night. The older tradition of Twelfth Night being on the eve of 4th January stems from the Hebrew and later Roman Catholic liturgical practice of the day beginning at sunset rather than at midnight as it does now. Thus Twelfth Night falls on the night of 5 January nowadays.

In medieval and Tudor England, the Twelfth Night marked the end of a winter festival that started on All Hallows Eve — now more commonly known as Halloween. The actual Elizabethan festival of Twelfth Night would involve the antics of a Lord of Misrule, who before leaving his temporary position of authority, would call for entertainment, songs and mummery (folk plays). The Lord of Misrule symbolizes the world turning upside down. On this day the King and all those who were high would become the peasants and vice versa. At the beginning of the Twelfth Night festival, a cake that contained a bean was eaten. The person who found the bean would rule the feast. Midnight signaled the end of his rule and the world would return to normal. The common theme was that the normal order of things was reversed. This Lord of Misrule tradition dates back to pre-Christian European festivals such as the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia.

Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night, or What You Will 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, 2 February 1602. The play has many elements that are reversed, in the tradition of Twelfth Night, such as a woman Viola dressing as a man, and a servant Malvolio imagining that he can become a nobleman. The play centers on the twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. The plot focuses on the Countess Olivia falling in love with Viola (who is disguised as a boy), and Sebastian in turn falling in love with Olivia. The play expanded on the musical interludes and riotous disorder expected of the occasion.

The play has been regarded as preserving this festive and traditional atmosphere of licensed disorder. Servants often dressed up as their masters, men as women and so forth. This history of festive ritual and Carnivalesque reversal, characterized by drunken revelry and inversion of the social order; masters became slaves for a day, and vice versa, is the cultural origin of the play’s gender confusion-driven plot. This leads to the general inversion of the order of things, most notably gender roles. The embittered and isolated Malvolio can be regarded as an adversary of festive enjoyment and community, led by Sir Toby Belch, “the vice-regent spokesman for cakes and ale.”

The historic holiday of Twelfth Night has been abandoned and forgotten by almost all the rest of the country. The twelve-day, mid-winter festival, Twelfth Night, once ended with great public fanfare has receded to leave behind our truncated modern holiday season that views December 25 and January 1 as its high points, and January 2 as the day life goes back to normal.

But it wasn’t always so for the people who inhabited the Delaware Valley and other parts of the colonies in the 18th century. In some ways, the historical record of 18th-century life portrays a Christmas far more drab and low-key than ours today. But in other ways, the same record illuminates a set of traditions — including that of Twelfth Night — that invoked the bonds of close community in ways not matched by our own 21st century high-tech lifestyle.

From its earliest days, the Twelve Days of Christmas festival involved masked dancers and play actors who cavorted through the streets and visited homes unannounced to beg for holiday treats and drink. In England they were called “Mummers,” from the French term “momer,” which means to wear a mask. Some historians suggest that when the Christian church initially subsumed the pagan Saturnalia, it may have encouraged or tolerated demonstrations by the newly faithful mocking the old Roman gods. Those early revelers donned grotesque masks satirizing the Roman deities but their masked street antics ultimately became a popular and unstoppable part of the Christian Christmas festival.

In fact, the 18th-century importance of Twelfth Night — rather than Christmas Day — is nowhere better documented than in the papers of George Washington. He paid scant attention to Christmas Day, usually attending a church service after which he would spend the day sorting through other year-end business matters of his plantation. Twelfth Night, however, was a different matter. Washington’s records indicate that he and his wife Martha often entertained groups of relatives and friends throughout that day. Further illustrating how Twelfth Night holiday gatherings provided convenient opportunities for conducting other large family events, George and Martha Washington were married on Twelfth Night in 1759 in Williamsburg. Martha Washington’s papers, preserved at Mt. Vernon, include her recipe for a huge Twelfth Night cake that included 40 eggs, four pounds of sugar and five pounds of dried fruits.

It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that American society broadly broke out of the twelve-day Yuletide. The increasingly industrialized economy that rose out of that war fostered the concept of a Dec. 25 that pivoted around the buying and giving of consumer goods rather than the joys of dancing in the street or celebrating fellowship and good wishes with an ornate cake whose flavor, some said, lingered in the soul for the whole of the coming year.

Twelfth Night marks the beginning of the Carnival Season which ends on Marti Gras Day!!!

Twelfth Night, the feast of Epiphany, was celebrated by Creole society from the early days of colonial Louisiana. These Bals de Roi (the King’s Ball) were given at plantations and homes for family and friends; the highlight was the cutting of the King Cake (Gateau des Rois), and the finder of the bean—la feve—in his or her cake became Le Roi or La Reine de la feve, and would reign over the next ball, which they were to host. Thus a series of balls began each season and continued until the final great ball of Mardi Gras evening. These traditions were formalized with the organization and first appearance of the Twelfth Night Revelers on January 6, 1870. from NewOrleansOnLine

Twelfth Night, January 6th is the twelfth night after Christmas. Also called the Feast of the Epiphany or King’s Day or simply Twelfth Night, January 6th is the official end of the Christmas season, In New Orleans January 6th Twelfth Night, is a significant day for another reason. It’s the official start of the Carnival season, that leads up to the day before Ash Wednesday, or Mardi Gras.

Many people use Mardi Gras and Carnival interchangable, but they mean different things. Carnival is a season that starts on January 6th or Twelfth Night. During Carnival there are many balls, and parades and other celebrations. Every thing leads up to Mardi Gras, which means “Fat Tuesday” in French. Mardi Gras is always the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Midnight on Mardi Gras is the official end of Carnival. That’s because Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent. One of the main reasons for Carnival and Mardi Gras is to eat, drink and be happy before observing the rigors of fasting and sacrifice during Lent.

Twelfth Night is a cause for celebration in New Orleans because it officially begins our favorite time of year, Carnival. The Phunny Phorty Fellows is a band of Twelfth Night revelers who hold their annual ride every January 6th on the St. Charles Avenue Street Car, usually starting about 6pm. Joan of Arc’s birthday is celebrated in another Twelfth Night celebration with a parade in the French Quarter starting at the Bienville Statue on Decatur Street. Historical characters in medival dress will parade through the French Quarter. This parade usually starts about 7pm. All over town live music venues will have special guests performing in celebration of Twelfth Night. It’s a fun time! from GoNewOrleans

The Twelfth Night Production Team is proud to welcome some of our good friends for the evenings entertainment!!!

• The Gimme A Second Troupe Shakespeare Infused Improv
These guys are always good for a laugh!! But to celebrate Twelfth Night, they have taken on the challenge of infusing Shakespeare into some of their favorite improv games. No one knows what will happen when this group gets together – Shelton Harden, Bill Meyer, Luke Ramsey, Meredith Stone, Mike Means, and Charley Hankins.
• Shakespearean Stand-up by Darrin Riley
Not everyone understands the words Shakespeare wrote, and especially not his insults. Well sit back and enjoy a mini stand-up routine as Darrin Riley dissects insults from assorted Shakespearean plays.
• A Star Wars Skit – The Trash Compactor scene (in Shakespearean voice of course)
Have you ever wondered what Star Wars would have been like if Shakespeare has the author? Here is your chance to find out. Gary Hall selected a scene from his copy of Star Wars trilogy in Shakespearean tongue and recruited a cast. Please come enjoy the Trash Compactor skit as presented by Adria Norton, Thomas Brewster, Yancey Kyle, and Mark Southall as the voice Chewbacca.

And a big, BIG thanks to all our friends that are bring sweet treats to share!!!