So today we have Amber Scales who currently is delivering excellent performance as Viola. Thank you. In Twelfth Night. Thanks for being here. Thanks for having me. So how has it been? Because as you say, it's a pretty iconic. It is. It starts really heavy. With her being like, okay, my brothers dead, I'll die if I don't figure out something to do, let's be a boy. We talked a lot when we were doing table work about if the play continued, if Sebastian hadn't shown up, which she had just been says are you forever, you don't really get to see her plan there. Right, you don't. We were actually having that conversation. It was one of the things I personally wanted to talk about. So I'm glad you brought it up. In other Shakespeare plays you have like Roselyn saying, well, we might be in danger if it's two maids in the woods and so we have to dress up. But Viola just- Go straight there. Says I'm going to address as a boy and go, that's great. But I hadn't taken in as far as like, but if the play continued. Yeah. Well, that was my first. I was like how far she willing to ride through this because, she doesn't want to live as a man, it's something she's doing out of necessity for safety. Even though she doesn't say this as explicitly as a lot of the other characters can. But you think that's what it is. Because that mean the other characters, they are traveling, but you go straight to the- I think she's thinking I'm in a foreign country, I'm a young unmarried woman. So historically, I can't have money, I have no male escort, there's no boy yet, if you're thinking loves laborers to at least like, I'm here and I'm a woman, but this is the person who you can speak to on my behalf and who can carry from me and give messages. In her mind, she has no family. She doesn't really know where she is, that's another thing we explored. How far is Alirio from home, which close enough that they were on a boat journey there, but people were on boat journey for months back then, so maybe not that close at all. So all of those factors in my mind, I was like, okay, I think at her essence, this is about I need to be able to have some money in my pocket and I need to be in a less vulnerable position, and then young unmarried woman is not any of those things, so boy. What was fascinating to me is how she solve some of her home problems with being, tell them I'm in Munich, so that'll cover when my voice is a little bit higher, maybe one with slightly more feminine than a lot of other men. Went through and already was like, yeah, don't go looking for me to like pin the words because that's not happening. Which is brilliant on her behalf, which was one of the more daunting things about her. She's so smart and it happens so quickly that her getting swept up in this love with Orsino almost is against her nature. That's great. So why do you think you keeps the costume on? Once you're there and you're not in danger anymore- Once she knows they're friendly people. Right. Yes. You stay in costume. The first time you see her in male garb in a show, it's been three days, which when you're in the realm of emotional trauma and processing, the death of your twin brother, not just your brother, your twin brother, that's not low. So no matter how taken all these strangers are with her, she's been in a mess probably pretty fully for those three days. In my mind, she probably hasn't let her guard down, she's probably been very worried about getting found out. You would look just like him. Right. I hadn't thought about that before. Yes, we're is funny because Dante and I really don't. But in that theory he gives a whole monologue of like, she looked just like me, but many people that she's very beautiful. So we definitely look similar enough that no one would question it too much. The classic through the long hair in a ponytail and boom, you're boy. Like put Shakespeare. Head on, boom, it's totally taken care of. Yes, I know exactly. Which is nice. It's like you put a vest on and some pants and you're dude, great. It makes it easier to play- But what you're making me think about is just this notion of being in mourning and there's something comforting maybe about wearing his clothes. I don't know, I hadn't really thought about that before. Yeah, just a little piece of them and I think having the setting being right by the sea, and me thinking he's drowned, and us being washed into this new life in a shipwreck, I have so many moments in the show where I get to look at the sea. Just that thought of I'd be seeing some version of my reflection, I'd be seeing where I thought he may be could be, a drift because it's magical that we made it, the sea captain and myself who disappears, so that's my only friend. He's gone until the Act 5 where all of a sudden, he's back. We won't talk about it. Where does he go? Yeah, I don't know. I don't know what he's doing. Not being too helpful clearly. But, it's a really tiresome situation. I think we've talked a lot about those stakes and just emotionally, how she would have had to just throw that grief aside for the sake of survival. She falls pretty hard, pretty fast. Right. We get the show over course of like three-and-half months, which is eons to Shakespeare. Most women it takes them a good two hours and they're in love with someone. Madison playing Juliet has at night,. Right. Yeah. He's in love with another woman the hour before, he comes to your party looking for another woman. But I think with Viola, she wasn't looking for love, which I think is one of my favorite things about the piece, that she's not there for him, he just happens to be there. I don't even think she really expected it at all. I think it's something when you're watching someone be happy and be in love. Yeah. How just that joy is infectious, and her watching Orsino pine after Viola could have been a really, when you're sitting at the bar and some guy walks over to you and is like, "My friend thinks," and you're like, "Are serious? Are we 12? What's happening here? With your friend?" Which is me, I'm the one like, "Oh, my friend, the duke, happens to like him," and she's like, "Yeah, I'm not into that." "But you're cute." Which just entangles the whole thing. Yeah. We have a lot of discussion about woman to woman, how it feels for me to watch her falling in love, knowing I'm having the same feelings and that sisterhood of usually that's the girl chat you would have of like, "Oh my God, this person's so cute and I'm into them," and regardless of sexuality, that camaraderie would have still existed in feminine circles and masculine circles. For me to not have an outlet and then for Olivia to be going through the same grief of the death of her brother. Yeah. To not have anyone socially or intellectually really on her level to discuss it. That she also, in not looking for love, finds it, but through intellect, I think more than Viola really falling in love with the idea of love through Orsino's eyes. Is that where you think it is? I think so. Because she's not brilliant. Right. I think she's way smarter than him. Yeah. But I think he feels really deeply and he's really carrying, he's a sweet guy. Sometimes we maybe don't give enough credit to just being nice, really being kind and he really likes her no matter how inept he is at saying it. But his self-awareness to be like,"I know I don't have the words. You seem to be smart, could you do this for me?" But in his deepest moments of caring that the things Viola finds to put words to those emotions with adorations, fertile tears, with groans, that thunder love, with size of fire. The way she describes what he's going through in loving her is really beautiful. It's passion. Yeah, it is and I don't know. I think it's definitely more than he's just, macro level of hot which helps. Right. I think it has to be something not necessarily a love at first sight thing for her. But that there's something in his yearning that's really beautiful. Because you mentioned that so many of Shakespeare's characters fall in love immediately, and it's that really love, it's infatuation, which is clearly something he's exploring. I feel right around the time when he's writing these plays, I think it's Olivia, as you like it too, just falling in love with someone who's not necessarily good for you. Right. In the drop of a hat. Yeah. The thrill of the chase thing. I was just talking to Jess, who played Olivia, and she was [inaudible] because we had this big conversation about, all these people are interested in you, but you fall for the person who's mean to you, who challenges you, who's also really smart and really great with words and she's talking about that a lot, but that notion of falling in love with someone who isn't interested in you. Yeah. We see that unrequited everywhere in the piece, especially with us changing Antonio into Antonia. Yeah. Then having that now, what used to be a homosexual relationship turned into what heteronormative one, and it's again, a woman pining after a man who's not interested. Right. Which we see that mirrored in me and Olivia. Right. I think the reason the audience cannot be upset with me and that, is that they know that woman to woman, I'm trying really hard in my language to be like, "No woman will ever have my heart, except me." I'm giving her all these hints and she's just not feeling it. Is there another favorite moment in the play that we haven't touched on? I do really love willow cabin and that might just be me loving the language of it, but I think there's something to be said about the same moment I had with Orsino on the blanket is the moment Olivia has when I say that speech, of her being like, "Wow." Yeah. I think we had to have a conversation about how are we going to do this where we can watch Olivia fall in love. Someone who has been consistently, Olivia has no folly and all the characters are with him and she comes out in this black morning gown. Yes. Is very clear with everyone that she just not here for fun, she is not here for games. She is running the work she has to do that her brother and father left, but that's about it. Very much Malvolio's levels where I was, there are some things that can be done now and some that have to be done later, and we're not here for joy right now. But for her to so holistically shift, and then for us to see her picking up sea shells and just doing all this cutie stuff and eventually out in a new dress after the wedding, and the joy that she gets from that and she shifts into a whole new person. For that to all come from her hearing me say that I would sit outside your house and sing you songs loud at night, and yell your name off the mountains and let it echo through the air, stuff that is beautiful. Who wouldn't want someone to love them like that, to be that bold. But I think really for Viola, it was a moment of being she wanted to be able to be herself, and that boldness and openness is something she was missing. So she's talking about stuff she would want but also stuff she would do for Orsino, and it's that same way Viola falls into Orsino, watching someone loves someone is so endearing. Then becoming a different version of yourself. Of yourself for them, because she turns into a whole new person. A person I really don't know how to interact with, who is dragging me on stage and is all cutesy, and I'm, what is this? Who are you? I used to just come in here, I'd say, Orsino likes you. You'd say, his words are heresy, I don't want to hear anything, you send me on my way. Now, all of sudden I'm getting gifts and your servants are bringing me rings, and you're calling me in to do menial tasks for you and doesn't even know my name, which is so interesting. When she finally asked, what your name by the way? Cesario, which I almost was like can we cut this? Are we really going to be she didn't know my name? Just funny stuff that Shakespeare throws in there, no one really knows who you are. But it reaffirms that idea of no one ever had to ask. They thought Cesario/Viola as a person was so clear, it made so much sense with something so that they could attach to and she is so in a turmoil being these fake people for whatever reason, but it's so not herself, but no one knows that. I think people do that every day and walk around, and I thought a lot about what I do to exist in spaces where you have to code switch, or you just alter the way you are because it's survival, it's almost instinctual. I think we're in a really interesting national space to discuss gender and identity, and just as more and more people have decided that gender is a social construct. Sure, but it's one that is deeply prevailed in our society, so let's figure out a way to educate folks around it, to talk about it, to be gender inclusive in our language, just start putting our pronouns and our e-mail signatures and saying those things especially in artistic species where non-binary people are more and more talking about what roles are we going to play and how are we going to be represented. Does it really matter if this person is strictly male or strictly female and how does that exist? Then there are further conversations happening about, well, what does it mean to be a woman and have autonomy, and to have control of yourself, and control of your future, and your body. All those things happening where Viola has to make choices strictly based on survival that aren't the choices she would make in our every day. I think that thought of, we will do things to survive that we wouldn't do in perfect circumstances or even decent circumstances, is something that always resonates. Because people are always pushed in situations where they're forced to be someone other than their true self, or think that someone's not going to accept them for who they are, and that idea of what does it mean to be accepted and to be safe in a culture and in a society. Rather than having to perform. Rather than performative emotions or performative anything. Because I think Viola performs male gender as best she can when she doesn't really quite know how to do that, because why would she? That's not her identity. But those ways we examine the Lawrence Dunbar thought of who wears the mask and who is forced to, and who never has to. It's like Orsino never has to put a mask on really once in the whole show. Because of his status. Because of his status and has power and there are so many people in our current world who always are wearing masks because of, their station, or their race, or their ethnicity, or their poverty, or their sexuality, or whatever. That literally have to exist as other beings just to make it through the day, and some people who will never understand the privilege it is to literally be themselves. That conversation is something that resonates, I think, through all ages and through all audiences. It's pretty timeless.