Twelfth Night has been named as one of the most successful plays done by Shakespeare. The major themes in this play include deception, illusion, madness and disguises. The play has been referred by scholars as a transvestite comedy. As with any other play written by Shakespeare, there is always a constant urge for a film to be produced on the same. The question then becomes whether or not the original “touch” will be experienced or not. Film has numerous advantages over text; even though this cannot be overlooked, it would be illogical to fail to acknowledge the demerits (Rosenstone 86).
There has been a constant debate from various scholars on whether or not drama should be changed to other forms - say a movie. Critics argue that when one is writing a particular piece, they fine tune it to fit its desired form. As such, by changing a play to be a movie, the desired effect is not achieved in its entirety. On the other hand, some scholars are of the thought that changing the original version to different forms will go a long way in cementing its validity. Their argument is based on the fact that one may miss a particular point, say while reading, but identify the same once they watch the movie. Given the above is true, a perfect blend of both (or more) forms would yield maximum results.
One of the advantages of turning the play into a movie is the allowance for more detail. Here, the directors of the movie are in a position to add scenes (or lines) they feel would have brought a better effect. In this way, those who had originally read the play can understand scene (s) they might have missed out. At the same time, those who may not have read will have an urge to go through the play- assuming it is well displayed. In the Twelfth Night, the humour that had been intended by Shakespeare would be well illustrated through visual media. This is especially true because, through a movie, one is in a position to better connect the scenes and probably understand the said joke better.
Secondly, visual communication has been shown to be more effective than most other forms that are existent. This is particularly true where keeping things in mind is concerned. Studies have shown that individuals are more likely to recall something they have watched as opposed to what they read. As such, by changing the play Twelfth Night by Shakespeare into a play, viewers are in a better position to grasp the content and even recall it to mention the least (Rosenstone 86). For example, the memory of “Olivia in a veil as she mourns her brothers” can be easily remembered through film (Shakespeare 2).
Still on modernity, a movie is bound to include changes that suit this current age. Such variations could include some scene changes. There have been a lot of significant changes that have taken place since the 15th century (when the play was written). As such, relating with most of the ideas in the play would prove to be difficult for individuals in this modern generation. An inclusion of some modernity would, therefore, go a long way in ensuring that most people relate to the content (Rosenstone 16).
On the other hand, making adaptations could affect the play in question to a great extent. One of the major ramifications of such an action would be the possibility of some details being lost in the process. It would be extremely difficult to retain all the details as they were put across by the playwright. Some ideas are best explained in writing and it is as such, not easy to act some scenes out.
The movie could make the play worse. This could be as a result of exaggeration or even omission of some facts. When Shakespeare wrote the play, he had it all figured out; he knew how he expected the audience to react and how different scenes would be received. Based on that, a slight deviation from the original form would cause the play to lose its intended meaning. The adaptation is hence required to be just like the original from all fronts - something that is unachievable.
Also, most individuals are into the movie making industry for the money they hope to make. As such, they will rarely make an effort to include all the relevant details. For them, there are particular scenes that will make their movie sell and this is essentially what they will include. When this is done, it is impossible for individuals to relate with the original play; the adaptation will then be termed as a fail. Over the years, this has led movie producers to come up with different versions of movies - all on the same play. With this, they hope to capture a larger audience while giving them a different feel every other time. This may work to entertain the viewers, but may not give the desired result; having people know about the play (Rosenstone 19).
This play, Twelfth Night, was written in the 15th century. The changes that have taken place since that time are many- and tangible. As such, having people to relate to those scenes is bound to be an uphill task. The modernity that exists in the present times causes things to be done in a very different manner. Therefore, asking people to go watch a movie on a play that was written in the 15th century may not go well. There are many modern movies in circulation that they would rather watch. This being the case, little or nothing will have been achieved in the long run (Rosenstone 16).
In conclusion, there has been a lot of discussion on whether the idea of adaptations is justified. As has been discussed above, there are two sides to the issue. The thriving of the play (either as a movie or otherwise) is, however, dependent on a lot of factors such as the audience and also the quality of the movie to mention but a few. The Twelfth Night was termed to be a successful play and it would be very interesting having a movie just as great. We can only wait and see how movie producers connect the 15th century to the 21st century and still remain relevant.
Rosenstone, Robert A..History in images/history in words: reflections on the possibility of really putting history on film (or what a historian begins to think about when people start turning his books into movies). Pasadena, Calif.: California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, 1986. Print.
Shakespeare, William. Twelfth night. ChandniChowk, Delhi: Global Media, 2007. Print.