Viola De Lesseps
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Viola De Lesseps

Shakespeare in Love

fans 11
rating 7.8/10 (6 users)
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About Her

Grew Up… in late 16th century London, on her parents’ estate.

Living… on the same estate, since she hasn’t married yet. Viola’s life is luxurious, in stark contrast to the tightly packed streets of London just across the river. But the life of a noblewoman bores Viola, who is more interested in pursuing the life of an actor.

Profession… none, other than aristocrat. She doesn’t have many responsibilities, except to obey the rules of her household and society. Soon she’ll be married off and will be expected to run an aristocratic household. Viola is guaranteed a comfortable life if she sits demurely and accepts her fate as a woman, but she isn’t about to let her class or sex get in the way of her theatrical dreams.

Interests… acting, however scandalous that might be for a young noblewoman. In particular, Viola is attracted to the plays of the up-and-coming playwright William Shakespeare. She’s finally been cast in Shakespeare’s company, as the romantic hero Romeo, but to do so she had to disguise herself as a man.

Relationship Status… complicated. Viola has undeniable chemistry with the young, poetic Shakespeare. Too bad he knows her as a man named Thomas Kent, and too bad she’s engaged to marry the aristocratic Lord Wessex.

Hobbies… acting (secretly), and attending to her duties as a noblewoman (reluctantly). Viola is entirely too forward and rebellious to be content staying home, and too romantic to marry unless it’s for love. She’d like to spend all her time in London’s streets and theaters, absorbing the culture of the masses.

Challenge… keeping her true sex hidden. Women are banned from performing on the stage, so Viola must keep her secret from her director, fellow actors, and the audience. If someone finds out she is a woman, then the law requires the theater to be closed for impurity. Viola’s making a dangerous gamble to audition at all.

Personality… bold, headstrong, and stubborn. Viola is a radical thinker who’s more than willing to bend, break, or avoid the rules entirely. She is passionate and artistic, and has a great capacity for acting although she’s new to professional theatre. Unfortunately, the closer she gets to realizing her talent, the deeper her deception becomes. Breaking laws often does come back to bite you in the end...

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