The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0986 Monday, 8 May 2000.
Date: Sunday, 07 May 2000 14:32:37 +1000
Subject: Cymbeline in Melbourne
I've just seen Cymbeline for the first time, an interesting experience.
The fairy tale elements (wicked stepmothers etc) stand out, but I also
thought it was derivative of Shakespeare's earlier work: jealousy themes
from Othello, tests of fidelity from Merchant, gender-swapping from
Twelfth Night and so on. It seems a little thin, not a lot of depth to
the characters or story.
The drama students at Melbourne University have co-opted the fairy tale
elements to give the play a "stagey" context, i.e. playing up the
fantastic elements with set and costume. The predominant colours are
orange, pink and green, a kind of candy effect on a set based on De
Witt's sketch of the Swan Theatre.
I thought their attempt at it worked well, given the limitations of the
script and the unevenness of student acting. My full review of the
production is at http://www.stageleft.com.au for those interested.
Could I ask list members to share their experiences of any other
stagings of Cymbeline? I assume it's not staged often, and I'd be
interested to hear what approaches different companies have made to set,
costume, context and so on.