When the play was first performed, all female parts were played by men or boys, but it has been the practice for some centuries now to cast women or girls in the female parts in all plays. The company of Shakespeare's Globe , London, has produced many notable, highly popular all-male performances, and a highlight of their 2002 season was Twelfth Night , with the Globe's artistic director Mark Rylance playing the part of Olivia. This season was preceded, in February, by a performance of the play by the same company at Middle Temple Hall, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the play's première, at the same venue. The same production was revived in 2012-13 and transferred to sell-out runs in the West End and Broadway . Stephen Fry played Malvolio . It ran in repertory with Richard III .
Viola and Sebastian are lookalike twins, separated by a shipwreck. Viola lands in Illyria, where she disguises herself like her brother and goes into the service of the Duke Orsino. Orsino sends her to help him woo the Lady Olivia, who doesn't want the Duke, but finds that she likes the new messenger the Duke's sending. Then, of course, Viola's brother shows up, and merry hell breaks loose. Meanwhile, Olivia's uncle and his cohorts are trying to find some way to get back at Olivia's officious majordomo, Malvolio. Written by Kathy Li