[MUSIC] Today we have Jess Robley, who is currently delivering a fantastic performance as Olivia in Twelfth Night. Thanks for joining us. >> Thank you. What I love about Olivia is that she's not just like a single woman leading her household. >> Yeah. >> But as a character, she's very autonomous. >> Yeah. >> She's directing madness, rather than just being part of the madness that someone else is directing. >> Yeah. >> She's causing it to happen. >> A tremendous amount of agency. So tell me more about Olivia. And how it's been playing her and what you've learned. >> I'm a big believer in her comedy. I think what I find really great about her is her comedy is very timeless. There's nothing about her I think that anyone anywhere can't understand. We've all experienced first love, infatuation. We've all experienced it being focused on the wrong person and humiliating ourselves for it. And I think that that is a gift to our audiences now because some of the language Twelfth Night is circuitous humor that's coming from Fasty. That's harder to track and the actor has to do a pretty intense job to get some of that across as much as possible across. And Olivia just is built for accessibility in my opinion, because her quandaries are very timeless. Everything's happening fast. She's turning on a dime, which is great for comedy. >> Yeah. >> The reversals are there. >> Yeah. >> She has that she's addicted to melancholy phase that is fairly brief. >> Yeah, >> it's just a quick setup >> But she means for it to last seven years. >> Yes >> Yeah >> But for the playwright that's a quick setup and then we're going to get right out of their rut. It's necessary that's your common world moments and like the hero's journey model. >> Yes >> Right. This is the common world and then incomes this >> Yeah, >> And I totally relate >> Yeah >> To some of these choices by Shakespeare- >> Yeah. >> In the sense that I have made a live comic book for families. I have not written Shakespeare but I see how he just he needs to do this to set up this. >> Yeah. A lot. >> Yeah. >> Or expose this so you understand that. Let me explain that one more time. Did y'all hear that? >> Okay, let's continue to make the joke or make the story work. Sometimes occasionally, it's a little inelegant >> Right >> By Shakespeare, >> Right. >> Not all the time. >> Yeah. >> Sometimes most of the time it's beautiful. >> Yeah. >> But it's kind of fun to notice just that he's a person who makes theater like us. >> Yeah. >> Moving fast. >> Yes. >> Anyway, as far as Olivia is concerned, I love that she gets to be funny and boldly funny. >> Yes. >> And I want to also make her human, and have her genuinely care, and feel out of control and not know what to do, feeling all that she is feeling. >> So what do you think makes her break this oath that she is in genuine mourning, at the beginning of the play and as you say it's a quick set up, but I mean she- >> No, it's- >> And she has a lot of people interested in her, a lot of suitors that she has turned down. So what is it >> About cesario. >> Well, I think that there has to be some sort of, primal attraction to youth. I think that's part of it. But I think the scene with cesario does not change until later. >> Yeah. >> When words are being used really well, when cleverness is apparent, when someone is meeting her at her level of. >> Yeah. >> Intelligence. And it's not just Osinno who was sent to her with platitudes. >> Yeah. >> It's someone who's challenging her and talking to her and crediting her with the ability to have real conversation. >> Yeah. And it also even happens before Cesaro arrives in the room when Malvolio is expressing who is this person right. And there's the line about, he will and I won't quote it properly but he will stand like a sheriff's post. Something like that. >> Yeah. >> A supporter to a bench. >> Yeah. >> Until you talk to him. And it's a poetic line that I can't remember. However, the word choice that's not something that the average footman would say. It's a descriptive thing. I'm going to be here. Yeah. >> And all of a sudden it's like, who is this person? I want to talk to this person. >> Yeah, you thought that even before you've met him, that's cool. >> And then you meet him and then it's a real conversation and I think I'm just genuinely interested. >> Yeah. >> I think I've lost hope in the world. I feel a little angry at the world I think it's standard grief. >> Sure. >> You're angry. >> Yeah. >> This system stinks. This is lost. There's nothing to do with loss. >> Two losses. >> Yeah. [CROSSTALK] >> Sewage losses. >> They're close to each other. >> Yeah. >> They're within a year I think and it's been about six months since she lost her brother, I think. But to me what was important about it is that I myself don't know what to do with loss. >> Yeah. >> When I experience it. It's so enraging. >> Yeah. >> And it's so important that you can feel connection in the middle of it. >> Yeah. >> For some reason this person talking to her in this way and challenging her and not caring if she's grieving. >> Yeah. Is-- >> Brings her back. >> Yeah. >> And then it's just, I think it's just that uncontrollable thing where you see a picture of yourself later in a moment with someone that you're attracted to and you have this idiot face. [LAUGH] You're like, I'm just so excited. And I think it really is real to be that way. You just, you don't have dignity. >> Right. >> When you're that into someone. >> Right. And I like how you keep saying the word challenging, because I feel like that's a big piece of it and as you like it, which is also in our season, which he wrote right around that time. There's a relationship in there, where Phoebe falls for someone not who loves her and who says really nice things to her. But who's a little mean, you know [LAUGH]? >> Mm-hm. >> And I feel like that's kind of operating here that Olivia has all these people who want to marry her, probably for her money, you know? >> Yeah. >> Auchike and Ossino and even Malvino. >> All these people in love with Olivia why/ >> Money, it's what you do. >> Right? >> It's just what you're supposed to do. There she is. >> But then here comes this person who really could not care less. Yeah. >> Right. And like that's also timeless. Don't we all right fall for that person, right who kind of doesn't care as much whether for good or for bad. >> Fall for that person a little bit who intrigues you. >> Right on the face of it it's like why would you be attracted to someone who's mean to you but that I don't know like as I'm thinking about it as we're talking about now, there's something about I don't know if it's trust or like it being refreshing that a person is not after you for the wrong reasons. >> It feels honest. >> Yeah. >> I think it gives you something to do. >> Yeah. >> I think that's a gift as an actor too, is that? You definitely have something to do you have a chase to engage. >> Right. >> Right? Where if everything's just coming at you, what do you >> You do with all that. Where do you put it? >> Yeah. >> But if someone's over there- >> It's a thrill of the chase. >> Intriguing you, you can lean in and try to figure it out. >> So do you think that's operating for her? because then I want to fast forward to the end of the play. >> Yes, I do think it's operating for her because there is something unique about this person. This is a woman dressed as a man- >> Yeah >> I don't know that but I feel there's something I know you're not what you are. >> Yeah. >> Something else to you. You're a gentleman, I think. >> Yeah. >> You're a gentleman. I believe you. >> Yeah. >> Your puzzle and I want to figure it out and I want this. Person in my life. >> Yeah. >> Compared to everyone else that I'm dealing with. >> Yeah. >> As a partner >> While we're on the subject of the revelations at the end of the play these, talking about >> Yeah >> Big choices, big discoveries, like you discover that the person you're married to isn't the person that you had that conversation with initially. But it is the person that you >> Asked to marry me >> That you actually married and. Yeah. >> That's beautiful too, I did ask the man to marry me. >> Yeah. >> It's pretty big deal. >> Yeah. >> Strong independent. >> Yeah. >> Agency power, a woman of power. >> Yeah. Acting for that. >> Yeah. And making some bad decisions too. >> Yeah. >> Just making some crazy decisions maybe, these are not, okay, I'm sending a ring after him, I'm toeing with him, I regret it later. That's not the best way, I'm engaging in cunning behavior rather than just being forthright. But that lovely, it's very human.