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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: April ::
Re: Cymbeline: staged or read
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0776  Thursday, 5 April 2001

[1]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 04 Apr 2001 14:20:22 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0766 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read

[2]     From:   Phyllis Gorfain <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 04 Apr 2001 15:01:56 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0766 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read

[3]     From:   Abigail Quart <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 4 Apr 2001 21:44:33 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0766 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read

[4]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 4 Apr 2001 22:19:08 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0766 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read

[5]     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 04 Apr 2001 23:27:55 -0600
        Subj:   Cymbeline on stage


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Wednesday, 04 Apr 2001 14:20:22 -0400
Subject: 12.0766 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0766 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read

I have to confess that I like *Cym* on the page--lively and inventive
characters and action, weird comedy, the language stretched to (and
occasionally past) the breaking point.  So maybe I was better prepared
than some to enjoy both the productions I've seen, by the Stratford
Festival in the '80s, and as the RSC brought it to Washington and
elsewhere a couple of years ago.  Its improbabilities are no greater
than those of the other romances (or *H5*, for that matter); they give
imaginative directors and actors challenges to meet.  And its great
length can be addressed by judicious cutting.

Dave Evett

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Phyllis Gorfain <
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Date:           Wednesday, 04 Apr 2001 15:01:56 -0400
Subject: 12.0766 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0766 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read

About Cymbeline in performance as opposed to being acceptable now only
for a reader:  I am sending a very hasty note, as I have just a moment
to enter a brief comment.

I was fortunate to see, a week ago, the current production of Cymbeline
at the Intiman Theatre, part of the Seattle Center.  The play is
directed by Bart Sher, the new Artistic Director of the Intiman Theatre.

I don't have the playbill with me at the moment, so can't credit the
actors, but the production was magical and very funny, as well as
frightening.  The concept was to use costumes and ideas inspired by
Japanese samurai, Japanese paintings, animal displays of animosity and
sexual presentation. American "wild west" representations provided the
idiom for Belarius, Guiderius, and Arveragus.  Imogen's male disguise
was also to wear jeans, chaps, chambray shirt, vest, and bandanna.  The
Italian scenes were performed from behind a kind a commedia del arte
curtain, but were done in a stylized form.  Iachimo was particularly
cunning and dangerous; Imogen was particularly sweet and tough; Cloten
wonderfully cloddish, riding an English kind of mummer's horse in his
Japanese clown outfit....wonderfully anachronistic, like the script;
anatopic, set in a mix of locations; anacultural,  interpreted with a
patchwork of cultural idioms, vocabularies, and styles.  Songs were
performed with microphones from the floor as in a old-time radio or
music hall performances.

The fantasy, extremity, and absurdity were played up; the cowboy accents
fit amazingly well with lines of Belarius such as, " Not too hot."
(V.v.322); and the cowboy motifs accorded well with the frontier
violence of Guiderius, the sentimental idealism of the brothers, and the
fairytale recognition scenes.

The script was drastically cut, the theophany/dream scenes eliminated,
and all of the prison scenes excised.  Overall, despite a few weak
performances, the postmodern collage was a visual, musical, and
theatrical delight.  The script did work as theatre in this production
-- done imaginatively, not straight,  and with enormous humor.

Phyllis Gorfain

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
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Date:           Wednesday, 4 Apr 2001 21:44:33 -0400
Subject: 12.0766 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0766 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read

"A few years ago, the New York Shakespeare Festival put on a magical
production of the play in Central Park, with Liam Schreiber doubling as
Iachimo and Jupiter (or Jachimo and Iupiter). "

That luminous production was directed by Andre Serban at his best.  I am
so glad I saw it. What a summer night!

The "unnamed professor" lacks the vision for practical theatre.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <
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Date:           Wednesday, 4 Apr 2001 22:19:08 -0700
Subject: 12.0766 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0766 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read

>."Cymbeline is
>  > best READ now, and not staged.
>
>I disagree with the unnamed professor.  On the page, the absurdities are
>more obvious than they are on a stage peopled with talented actors.  The
>theatrical experience smooths out the rough edges and draws a responsive
>audience into enjoying the twists and turns.

Because  although it is his language we English-speakers generally
consider his greatest gift to the world, I think it is his stories that
deserve that honor. They have overcome all difficulties with language
differences to be translated into all the languages of the
world--including music and ballet--to a degree unequaled by any other
writer.

Stephanie Hughes

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Wednesday, 04 Apr 2001 23:27:55 -0600
Subject:        Cymbeline on stage

Karen Peterson-Kranz asks about *Cymbeline* on stage.  In 1974, I think
it was, John Barton cut 800 lines from Sh's text and staged *Cym.* with
500 of Barton's lines inserted.  you could sure tell who had written
which lines.  But J.B. did one thing that made it all work.  He inflated
the role of the Doctor and gave him an ancient Folio vol. to carry
around with him and turn the pages of at beginning of scenes.  It made
the fairy tale dimension come to life to have this presenter, like Gower
in Pericles.  The old M

 

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