A long time ago (OK, it was only three weeks)…I wrote about Cymbeline and the question of casting. As in, “How do you cut the casting requirements from the 40 in the play, to something more manageable?” It was more rhetorical than anything, going off on tangents that took us to experimental 6-actor casts for both Shakespeare’s Globe and Fiasco Theater.
[WARNING: The the first portion of the following podcast contains adult language, sexual imagery, and stuff to make you say, “Man, that’s a dirty play.” You HAVE been warned. SKIP TO THE 12:50 MARK IF EASILY OFFENDED.]
This week’s podcast continues our two-month discussion of Cymbeline. We’re going to start off with a look at bawdy in the play, an exploration of one of the great speeches from the play, and a review of a fun little bit of non-Cymbeline-related bawdiness.
A couple of days back, I broke down the Iachimo-in-the-Box speech from Act Two, Scene Two of Cymbeline. Today, let’s take a look at another speech, pretty much a direct result of that first speech: the Act Two, Scene Five’s single-scene soliloquizing rant by Posthumus.
[EXPLICIT CONTENT, ADULT LANGUAGE AND SOPHOMORIC SEX HUMOR AHEAD… SKIP IF EASILY OFFENDED.]
Eric Partridge, in his study of and dictionary for the bawdy in the Bard, Shakespeare’s Bawdy, has this to say about our play: “Cymbeline in many ways resembles The Winter’s Tale, which is slightly less bawdy but rather more sexual. They are of much the same quantitative order as All’s Well.” (Shakespeare’s Bawdy, Partridge, Eric. New York: Routledge Classics, 2001; page 58). OK, so, we haven’t read The Winter’s Tale yet (that’s next), but we have read All’s Well, and that play’s got some dirt, but isn’t that dirty. I know, not very helpful.
OK, so I was starting to look for speeches in Cymbeline to break down in close readings, and I instantly thought of two: the Iachimo-in-the-bedchamber speech, and Posthumus’ rant against women near the end of Act Two. And I figured those were the two main soliloquies in the play (and yes, I know that technically the bedchamber speech isn’t a soliloquy because there is someone on stage with him at the time, but she’s asleep, all right?).
I figured that that was that, that this play, like our last one (Coriolanus), had only a couple of soliloquies.
Uh, no. There are nearly a dozen and a half soliloquies (of 10 or more lines) in the play.
Another early summer Friday, another new release. Out in the world, it’s Tom Cruise and his Mummy reboot. For us, a not-review of Cymbeline.
[NOTE: when I do the reviews revue–see what I did there?–I view the videos all in the same month if possible (Macbeth with its slew made it a little difficult). I don’t technically review anything I haven’t seen recently..thus, what follows is a “not-review”]
The first printing of Cymbeline was in the First Folio of 1623, after Shakespeare’s death. There was no Quarto edition. The play comes at the very end of the book on page 877; it’s the last play of the tragedy section, and its title page looks like:
So, you’re a pretty nice guy. Got this beautiful fiancée or wife, and she’s totally faithful to you. And this dude comes along and tells you that she’s been disloyal. You get sad then mad, and you want her killed. We’ve seen this before in Othello and now Cymbeline. You’re the Moor or Posthumus. She’s Desdemona or Hero. And that “dude” is Iago or Iachimo.
This week’s podcast continues our two-month discussion of Cymbeline. We’re going to start off with a look at the video versions of the play that are available, and then take a look at the question of character names.
Another early summer Friday, another new release: Wonder Woman. And for us, another new–or rather old–video version of Cymbeline. In 1982, as part of the sixth season of the BBC Complete Works series, Elijah Moshinsky directed his version. As with just about all of the BBC films, this one’s pretty stagey, and very faux Elizabethan. Well, really this one looks almost more Old Masters-ry, but that’s neither here nor there.