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TOPIC: Fabian

Fabian 3 years 9 months ago #6892

  • Marshall
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What does one do with Fabian?

I'm directing this play this summer, and have mostly settled on an approach (which I won't go into detail here because it isn't relevant to my question, and because it's not one that is fighting with the text). But the problem right now is Fabian. As I think he frequently is.

I've directed this play before, in undergrad, and due to space/actor concerns, and a more heavy handed concept, I combined Fabian (and a couple other roles) into Feste. This worked fairly well, but I'd like to not do that again this time. As I do my research on this play, I've found some excellent performance history, with long discussions on the various main characters, but precious little on Fabian. I'm not looking here for any brilliant insights necessarily (though I'm certainly open to them), but I am interested in conducting an extremely unscientific poll of those using this site to just know what you have done with Fabian in the past, seen others do, or thought to do.

Ideas that I've already come across or experienced:
Fabian as another, non speaking role in the early Toby scenes, who emerges in 2.5 (this was done in a production where Toby's scenes were huge parties, with 5-7 actors onstage in addition to those scripted)
Combined with Feste
A groundskeeper sort of character
Younger clown threatening to replace an older Feste

Thank you in advance for any ideas you are willing to share about the role.

I also swear there was a book at one time about Fabian, but I haven't been able to find it. If anyone knows the title, I'll be grateful to you for sharing that as well.
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Fabian 3 years 9 months ago #6893

  • Russell Slater
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I directed 12th N about 18mths ago and decided against merging Fabians role and introduced them as per script. In this production we had a big focus on the gross manipulation of Sir Andrew by Toby and introduced Fabian as a slighted (the bear-baiting incident) groundsman in the employ of Olivia who is often used as a willing partner-in-crime of Sir Toby. Fabian establishes this willingness in the set-up of Malvolio and extends it out to Andrew later - however we maintained his (or my my case her) involvement as more of a prank rather than the calculated, shaming, and alpha-male attributes we gave to Toby. Avoided bringing Fabian out earlier in play as the scheming nature of Toby was revealed slowly to audience and Fabian's late arrival timed well with were we were up to with the reveal. Didn't make much of a clown of Fabian or competition with Feste as there level of sophistication was quite different. In final scene we let Toby disgrace himself and Fabian redeem. Overall very happy with how it played out and largely true to script. We did carry an actor solely for this role though as a double didn't work out in my cast mix. Hope this helps.
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Fabian 10 months 3 weeks ago #7359

  • Steve Minkin
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I like Russell's take on this.

Combining Feste and Fabian seems like a particularly bad idea to me. I don't see anything to suggest that Fabian is an apprentice clown. Toby and Feste can trade fours; but Fabian is a plainer fellow, subservient to Toby, and his lines and demeanor seem so irreconcilable with Feste as to require some rewriting to make it work.
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