BETWEEN COMEDY AND CRUELTY: TIM CROUCHS I, MALVOLIO

Abstract

Author(s): Ahmet G├Âkhan B?├çER, Mesut G├ťNEN├ç

Tim Crouch (1964) is one of the most distinctive and important playwrights of British Theatre in the 21 st century. Apart from his four plays written for adult audiences- My Arm (2002), An Oak Tree (2005), ENGLAND (2007), and The Author (2009)- Tim Crouch has also rewritten five of Shakespearean plays titled I, Caliban (2003), I, Peaseblossom (2004), I, Banquo (2005), I, Malvolio (2010) and I, Cinna (2012) for children. With these rewritings he aimed at teaching how to solve the puzzle of Shakespeare’s plays. Crouch’s fourth adaptation I, Malvolio is a reworking of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. In the original text, Malvolio is a steward in aristocrat Olivia’s house. He mistakenly believes that his lady loves him and, because of this, his actions leads to a misunderstanding, as well as, a trick being played upon Malvolio by other characters in the play. These scenes represent the humour and comic sides of the play. We laugh at Malvolio however, Crouch thinks that Malvolio is cruelly tortured for a few laughs and is humiliated because he is treated as a madman. In the adaptation, Crouch respectively threats his audience, albeit authoritatively, trying to learn whether they felicitously hit Malvolio; when he is down, or not, or if they worry about him at all. Crouch gives Malvolio a voice, and evokes the audience to help Malvolio hang himself. Cycling between slapstick and black humour, Malvolio/Crouch arranges Shakespeare’s comic play to talk down audiences.

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