This book documents the intimate and intense bond between this ensemble cast of actors on a single night’s performance of Twelfth Night in New York City. The compositions capture the meticulous rituals of costume and makeup and juxtapose them with the sterile modernity of a modern backstage environment; a table tennis match in full Elizabethan dress; the tension of the stage wings before performance; Shakespearean queens transfixed upon a backstage television showing a football match. Other images simply convey the intensity of the moment. In make up, in the wings McCartney captures the pre performance tension as well as the euphoria of the curtain call.
In Twelfth Night, McCartney makes backstage her stage
“I enjoy the anachronistic marriage of old and new that Mary has photographed, the beauty of our Shakespearean clothes next to our modern clothes, but most of all I treasure the photographs of actors waiting to cross that invisible line between backstage and onstage. I don’t know of a photographer being present at these moments before. To be able to spontaneously photograph this world without any preparation is credit to Mary’s skill.”— Mark Rylance