Gentlemen of Verona
As I was studying the play before starting
rehearsals, I was struck by how many of the characters
and situations in the play seem to be the genesis
of things developed more fully in later stories.
Julia and Sylvia in Two Gents seem
to be early versions of Viola and Olivia in Twelfth
Night. Julia dons the clothing of
a young man and calls herself Sebastian; in Twelfth
Night Sebastian is Viola’s twin brother.
Sylvia, like Olivia, is portrayed as a wealthy aristocrat,
rather vain and somewhat spoiled. Thurio, her pompous
self-involved suitor, is the foundation of the puritanical
Malvolio. Julia’s first scene with Lucetta is reminiscent
of Portia and Nerissa in The Merchant of
Venice. There are strong echoes too of Romeo
and Juliet, particularly in Valentine’s
love passages and in his banishment.