Podcast 156: Cymbeline — a concept, cast (not really), and conclusion


This week’s podcast concludes our two-month discussion of Cymbeline. We’re going to start off with a directorial concept for the play, and end with a overview-y conclusion.

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Some thoughts and unanswered questions on Cymbeline

Here are some thoughts, questions, and ideas that I didn’t really get around to addressing in our time here with Cymbeline:

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Innogen. Again

The play may be called Cymbeline, but he’s not the protagonist. I suppose you might make an argument for Posthumus, but I think most would say the play revolves around our gal Innogen.

People love her.

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Midpoint: dramatic, not thematic?

Using Professor Rodes’ midpoint theory, let’s take a look at Cymbeline.

There are 3288 lines in in the play, which means the midpoint is at line 1644, or at Act Three, Scene Four, line 185. According to Dr. Rodes’ theory, you could find at this midpoint–or within twenty lines either way–a speech that perfectly sums up a major theme of the play (the 20-line leeway was to help remove the differences in prose line lengths between individual editions).

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Cymbeline: directing the stage

With every play, toward the end of the discussion cycle, I like to address a subject that rocks my world, but probably bores the socks off you. Well, since it’s my blog, I get to do what I want. And I want to talk about stage directions hidden in plain sight within the dialog. While these later plays do tend to have more stage directions than before (like the bizarre war correspondency that opens Act Five, Scene Two; or the truly truly bizarre directions around the dream of Posthumus Leonatus), there are still some hidden nuggets. And what are Cymbeline’s nuggets? (that sounded like it belonged to our discussion of bawdy)

Well, let’s see…

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Cymbeline production questions, part two

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.

Here’s a different, but related question.

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Cymbeline speech study: the wake-up call

Over the last week or so, I’ve been discussing some of the major speeches from Cymbeline. I started off with Act Two’s Iachimo-in-the-Box speech. Last weekend, I touched upon Posthumus’ full-scene, single-speech rant against women. Today, let’s move from the men to the main woman of the piece: Innogen.

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