I went to last night’s opening of Cymbeline at the Timms Centre, and I am happy to say that I was actually enjoying the play! I found it to be a little too long—it began at 7.30 and ended around 10.15pm. But other than that this production was as worthy as any.
The stage decorations seemed well crafted—I believe the Arts and Design department, and specifically Des 594 class, are the ones responsible for such an elaborate stage. And it was well used too—the actors constantly moved around the stage, through the curtains, up and down the stairs in graceful ways, and had elaborated choreographies in-between scenes, giving the play an interesting artistic vibe.
I was most impressed with Perry Gratton as Guiderius (Polidore) and his acrobatic maneuvers on stage, and I believe Julia Guy (Arviragen, Fight Capitan) did an excellent job in the fight choreographies. Usually, and I have seen this in many plays, it is quite obvious the actors are following a “movement script” and you can usually anticipate their movements. I didn’t find this to be the case in Cymbeline.
What I liked the most about this play was the fact that I could actually understand what they were saying! I had seen Shakespeare’s plays before—ok, only one, but it was enough to discourage me from seeing any others. It wasn’t because it was a bad play, but because I found the dialogues to be so complex that I could not understand a word they were saying. I attributed this fact to my unfamiliarity with reading Shakespeare in English, and thus with the words he uses and the style that accompanies them.
Cymbeline was not hard to follow—sure, the first 10 minutes were mostly a blur; I was trying to understand what was happening just by looking at the body language and the tone of their voices. But after I got used to the style they were using, I could understand most of what they were saying. I find this to be extremely important, since it may escape some people’s mind that Shakespeare’s unique writing style could discourage anyone from enjoying a play like this—I can honestly say even my Canadian friend had some difficulties understanding every line (please take note Shakespeare in the park!)
If you decide to go see Cymbeline, you will not be disappointed. It is a love story with a bit of drama, war, and comedy–and who doesn’t love that!
Cymbeline will be playing February 9th to 18th at the Timms Centre. Ticket range from $5-$20.