Antonio is a very interesting character in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. He has been perceived as a character who has an obsession with Viola's brother, Sebastian. But is there more to this obsession than meets the eye? This is where Fiction Romance steps in, with Patrick Kealey playing a lovestruck Antonio.
Leaves you with a lot of food for thought.
Fiction Romance explores in-depth the possibility that Antonio is homosexual. In the original play, Antonio does follow Sebastian to Illyria, whilst putting his own life at risk for having wounded Orsino's brother. John Knowles' insightful and heartfelt writing explores the possibility of Antonio finally being given a voice to express how he really feels about the younger man, and what his perception of sexuality is, which is not revealed so openly in Shakespeare's text.
Patrick Kealey presents the idea that Antonio was not the hard nosed sea captain he is often portrayed as, but someone with a sensitive nature hiding to protect himself. We found out what happened to him before he met Sebastian, and after he was arrested in Illyria at the end of Twelfth Night. Kealey was brave in his emotional choices, as he candidly stated that he was an addict to love, and that he experienced he had never experienced a love this intense before. He gently invited us into his thought processes, including his honest view of Sebastian, and men in general. Kealey allowed himself to be vulnerable on stage as a performer, which was particularly evident in one part where he compared Sebastian to the bay of Mosquitoes and that he was one of the many stars among them. Not long after this, he said, “Sebastian, you were my iceberg. You killed me, and you kill me still.”
That simple statement summed up the deep connection Antonio had with Sebastian, and more. The fact that this then led to some raw emotional outbursts from Kealey, as his anger and frustration emerged, gave the play an added edge, especially as it echoed the widespread experience of unrequited love. Kealey's performance was so heartbreaking to watch that the more we watched, the more we became connected to Antonio, and the more we wanted him to find happiness.
Fiction Romance was not just a play, but an emotional rollercoaster that presented a different perspective on love, and left you with a lot of food for thought.