We escorted the Lady deGloves to the Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF) in Winona, MN to see Cymbeline. We encourage folks to see these types of regional Shakespeare and especially the GRSF. American Players Theatre (APT) is substantially better, in part because it has its own stage and a larger group of actors, but folks like GRSF provide an interesting take on the Bard. It is a joy to see how GRSF does a play like Cymbeline on a small stage with actors playing several parts.
Cymbeline is one of Shakespeare’s play that is performed fairly rarely. Our search of APT only showed it performed in 2004. We do not know if their online records are comprehensive and searchable. We do know that we never remember seeing it there. Our memory is not perfect either.
We enjoyed GRSF’s version of Cymbeline. And of course, it has the words that make us love Shakespeare. Although the title is the king, the main characters are Posthumus, an orphan raised by the king, and the king’s daughter Imogen whose name has lots of alternative spellings. Posthumus and Imogen are married against the king’s wishes and the king banishes Posthumus to Italy to start the action.
As we see it, the play revolves around our favorite theme from Shakespeare: forgiveness. One critic has a point that the author might be engaging in a bit of self-parody. The forgiveness at the end will truly blow your mind. Among some of the things to be forgiven are Cymbeline banishing Belarius, Belarus kidnapping the Cymbeline’s two sons, one of the sons killing Cymbeline’s stepson, Posthumus fighting for the Romans against Cymbeline, and those are the minor items of forgiving. It is a typical Shakespeare ending that is contrived but comprehensive. We love them. The Lady deGloves, however, would only be willing to forgive Posthumus posthumously.