Last Sunday Jim and I went to see our local Shakespeare in the Park’s presentation of Cymbeline. Though I studied the play, I have never seen an actual performance and was very excited to finally experience it. We had a great time. The evening weather was perfect and we brought a picnic dinner of crusty bread, meats, brie, and salad. For dessert we had biscotti.
I got this fabulous salami and prosciutto which I rolled up. It was absolutely delicious and perfect for our little picnic. We ate all that bread!
Jim took a picture of me in my “wench dress”. Hey at least I didn’t wear something Elizabethan. That would be too much. But this dress makes me look fatter than I really am and that is tough to do!
So anyhoo, the play. Cymbeline is one of Shakespeare’s lesser known and rarely performed works. Why I don’t know because it is fab. Cymbeline was an actual historical figure, the king of ancient Britain at the same time Christ was born. Appropriately this play has themes of sin, repentance, and redemption. It is interesting because it hurls headlong into disaster and yet does not end up as a tragedy. Providence brings it all together with mercy, forgiveness, and a happy ending. This is Shakespeare’s most Christian play.
But don’t think that makes it boring for a lot of exciting things go on throughout. Shakespeare borrows some goodies from his more famous works. For instance Imogen wakes up next to a headless corpse that she thinks is the body of her beloved husband who is trying to kill her. Awkward! But it reminds us of Romeo and Juliet.
It’s a terrific scene. Also there is a King Lear aspect with Cymbeline’s anger and rejection of his good daughter who married her love Posthumous Leonatus instead of the wicked Cloten, rhymes with rotten. The one it reminds me most is Othello with the “friend” giving false information that the wife is unchaste.
Here is Cloten yelling at the Roman who is trying to get Britain to pay tribute. Knowing Rome’s power, it seems the height of foolishness.
The guy who played Cloten was very good, making the character humorous as well as rotten. We really enjoyed Cymbeline and decided to see it once more in a couple of weeks.