By William Shakespeare
Directed by Jon Ciccarelli
August 2-23, 2004
For the final play of the 2004 Shakespeare Festival, HSC turns to one of the Bard's better known fairy tale love stories, Cymbeline. With elements that would feel right at home in Disney movie like Snow White or the fantasy, adventure romp, The Princess Bride, Shakespeare weaves a tale of the beautiful princess Imogen and her new husband, Posthumus, parted by circumstances invoked by her wicked step mother and her distant father, the King Cymbeline. Imogen is plagued by a wicked, but idiotic step brother who wants to marry her, the memory of two kidnapped brothers who reappear unexpectedly, people who want to kill her and buffoons who question her chastity. Disguises, misidentifications, convenient plot twists and comedy abound is this ode to the fairy tale world. Cymbeline, comes closest to what we regard as the fairy tale style, that was popularized by Grimm's tales. With this play, Shakespeare continued a new type of drama that he had first experimented with in the play Pericles, the Romance. Though, not a term used in his own time, the Romance came to embody a group of works by Shakespeare and his contemporaries that strove to mesh both comic and tragic elements in their stories, usually with a supernatural twist thrown in for good measure. These stories were often set in far off lands and exotic locales to give them a more other worldly feel. When Shakespeare's collected works were brought together for the first time, these plays were listed under his comedies. However, unlike Much Ado About Nothing or Twelfth Night that usually dealt with situations more based in the reality of everyday lives, this new direction in theater purposely set to out create fairy tale like landscapes with all of it's trappings. The Romances would mark the final phase of Shakespeare's writing career. In our adaptation we changed three male characters to women. The first are the young long lost princes of Guiderius and Arviragus and secondly the servant Pisanio goes from an old man to a young women, turning the relationship of Imogen and Pisanio into a more sisterly arrangement.
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The forlorn Imogen (Laura Malone) laments the loss of her husband Posthumus. Long Pond Iron Works State Park, West Milford, NJ
Two courtiers (Hannah Wolfe and Tiffany Climenti) discuss the recent scandal in King Cymbeline's court. Stratford Library, Stratford, CT
Cymbeline, the King of Britain under the Roman empire, is a widower with three children. His two boys (Guiderius and Arviragus) were kidnapped 20 years ago at age three, leaving his daughter, Imogen, as the only heir to the throne. The king remarries and gains a whiny stepson, Cloten, in the process. The queen lobbies for Cloten and Imogen to marry, but Imogen following her heart marries her childhood love, Posthumus. Furious, at not gaining his permission, Cymbeline banishes Posthumus. before leaving, Imogen gives Posthumus a diamond ring that had belonged to her mother and in turn Posthumus gives her a bracelet of rare design. He retreats to Rome to the house of his friend Philario. The queen tries to befriend Imogen to get her to reconsider Cloten, despite the fact that he is constantly being berated as a twit by other lords in the court. Imogen thanks her for her friendship but is suspicious. Pisanio, Posthumus servant acts a go between for Imogen and the queen knows that as long as she has that as long as Imogen has that connection, she will never consider Cloten. The queen asks a court doctor for a poison to use on small animals, but intends instead to use it on Pisanio. The suspicious doctor gives her a powerful knockout drug instead. The queen gives Pisanio the "poison" saying its a drug to fortify ones health and a gift for his services. Lucius, a Roman ambassador arrives to tell Cymbeline that Britain owes tribute money to Rome. Cymbeline, with agreement from Cloten, say they will not pay and Lucius regrettably announces that Rome will invade if the tribute is not paid.
While in Rome, Posthumus meets Iachimo, a vain braggart who taunts him about staying faithful to his wife. Saying that a women's virtue is an overrated thing, Iachimo bets Posthumus that he can woo Imogen and bring back something of hers to prove her infidelity. Posthumus laughingly agrees, and Iachimo sets off for England. He is received by Imogen as a suppose friend of Posthumus and tries in vain to get her to break her vow. Getting nowhere, Iachimo shows her a trunk which he indicates is from Posthumus and contains a gift for her. Later that evening, Iachimo hides in the trunk and is brought to Imogen's room. When she is asleep, he pops out like a jack-in-the-box and steals the bracelet from her. To make the story of his conquest plausible, he also takes note of the room and a small mole on Imogen's breast. He then sets off for Rome to tell Posthumus the news. A stunned Posthumus reluctantly pays Iachimo the wager and sends word to his servant Pisanio that he must kill Imogen for this treachery.
Princess Imogen (Laura Malone) and her new husband Posthumous (John Trigonis) exchange good bye gifts. Sinatra Park, Hoboken, NJ
The foolish prince Cloten wonders why Imogen chose a pauper and not his royal self while his attendants (Hannah Wolfe and Tiffany Clementi) offer lip service. Hamilton Park, Jersey City, NJ
Pisanio, distraught at his instructions and knowing that something is wrong, decides that it is too dangerous for him and Imogen to remain at the castle. He informs Imogen about the letter, but devises a plan to find out what is going on with Posthumus and to get her out of any harm's way. They meet in the countryside of Milford Haven and he instructs her to come dressed as a boy. They will put out a story that Imogen has died and that she should join up with a Roman ambassador's party for cover and to gain access to Posthumus in Rome. Pisanio, gives her the queen's medicine, in case she gets sick. Waiting to meet up with the party, Imogen takes refuge in a cave. Unbeknownst to her, the cave belongs to an old banished lord, Belarius, who had offended her father years before. For revenge, Belarius, kidnapped the king's two sons and raised them as his own. Belarius, has a hard time containing the two adventurous boys. Belarius and the boys meet up with the disguised Imogen and take her in. Feeling a little feverish, she decides to take the medicine and falls into a deep sleep, which the family perceives to be death.
Prince Cloten (Cedric Hill) inquires about certain smart aleck remarks from his attendant (Tiffany Clementi). Sinatra Park, Hoboken, NJ
Pisanio (Chance Parker) tries to comfort her mistress Imogen (Laura Malone) after the departure of Posthumus. Kenilworth Borough Hall, Kenilworth, NJ
Meanwhile, Pisanio returns to the castle where he is threatened by Cloten to tell the real story of Imogen's escape. Pisanio, under threat of death, tells all and is ordered by Cloten to bring him some of Posthumus clothes. He travels to Milford Haven in order to trick Imogen into thinking that he is Posthumus. Upon arriving at the cave, the clueless Cloten bullies Belarius and his boys as to where Imogen is. The boys not taking a liking to this fool fight with him and eventually kill him by cutting off his head. The family says there respects to the dead and leave the bodies in the cave. Hearing of a Roman invasion, the family quickly goes off to join the massing British army. Imogen eventually wakes to find a headless corpse next to her but dressed like her love. She thinks that he is Posthumus, the Roman party happens upon her, to which she quickly joins. The Roman army arrives, with Posthumus as an officer and Iachimo in tow, to invade the country. Posthumus, fearing that Imogen is dead and no longer wanting to fight against his homeland, deserts his post and disguises himself as Briton. Cymbeline, masses an army to meet the Romans, but is captured in the fighting. He is later rescued by Belarius and his true sons.
Posthumus is captured as a traitor and waits for death. He later has a divine dream that all will be well. In the final scene of the play, he is brought before the king who has just knighted Belarius and his two sons for their bravery. Belarius explains that what he did and that the sons are actually the kings. Imogen comes out of hiding and with Pisanio tell the court what happened. Cymbeline tells of the queen's death at having gone mad without her son. Imogen and Posthumus are reunited and the relationship between Rome and Briton is restored.
The wicked queen (Tammy Dalton-Brown) seduces the court doctor (Cedric Hill) to obtain poisons to eliminate Pisanio. However, the doctor switches the poisons with sleeping potions. Van Vorst Park, Jersey City, NJ
The queen (Tammy Dalton-Brown) gives Pisanio (Chance Parker), the box of supposed poisons. Meadowland Park, South Orange, NJ
Arriving in Rome at the house of his friend Philario (L. Robert Johnson), Posthumous (John Trigonis) is met by the effete Frenchman (Clark Williams) and the con man Iachimo (Freeman Borden). Hamilton Park, Jersey City, NJ
In a bid to get Posthumous' expensive ring, Iachimo (Freeman Borden) wagers him that he can easily bed Posthumous' virtuous wife, Imogen. Posthumous (John Trigonis) confident in his wife agree to the strange bet. Pier A Park, Hoboken, NJ
Arriving in Britain, Iachimo steels himself for the seduction of Imogen. Shipyard Park, Hoboken, NJ
However, Imogen (Laura Malone) turns the tables on the would be seducer and threatens to expose this letch to the king. Stratford Library, Stratford, CT.
Trying another tact, Iachimo praises her husband and gets into Imogen's good graces instead. Meadowland Park, South Orange, NJ
Iachimo (Freeman Borden) sneaks into Imogen's bedroom to gather some personal information to win the bet with her husband. He steels a bracelet given to her by Posthumous. Van Vorst Park, Jersey City, NJ
Having stolen the bracelet, Iachimo gathers details of the room and Imogen. Sinatra Park, Hoboken, NJ
Smooth prince Cloten (Cedric Hill) attempts a predawn serenade of Imogen with interesting results. Stratford Library, Stratford, CT.
The Roman ambassador Lucius (L. Robert Johnson) arrives to collect the tribute due to Rome from Cymbeline (Tim Baird). The king and his advisors refuse to pay and Rome declares war on Britain. Hackensack Cultural Arts Center, Hackensack, NJ
Belarius (Clark Williams), a wrongfully banished lord of Cymbeline's court lives in the Welsh forest of Milford Haven with the king's two other children, Guiderius (Tiffany Clementi) and Arviragus (Hannah Wolfe). Having stolen the children in revenge against the king, he now raises them as his own. Here Guiderius complains of their boring life in the wilderness and both her and her sister crave adventure. Long Pond Iron Works State Park, West Milford, NJ
Belarius, takes a parental course for their protests of a quiet life. Stratford Library, Stratford, NJ
A distraught Pisanio (Chance Parker) receives word from Posthumous that Imogen has been unfaithful. He orders her to kill Imogen in the woods of Milford Haven. Staib Park, Hackensack, NJ
After leading Imogen to Milford, Pisanio tells her of Posthumous letter. Pier A Park, Hoboken, NJ
Reading that she has been unfaithful, the crazed Imogen (Laura Malone) dares Pisanio to kill her. The two reconcile and Pisanio convinces Imogen to go to Rome to confront Posthumous. She escapes disguised as a boy. Long Pond Iron Works State Park, West Milford, NJ
The queen (Tammy Dalton-Brown) tries to comfort the king on his estranged daughter and the impending Roman invasion. Van Vorst Park, Jersey City, NJ
With Imogen gone, the queen is closer to putting her son on the throne. Sinatra Park, Hoboken, NJ
Cloten, having learned of the whereabouts of Imogen follows her to Milford Haven but meets Guiderius instead. The two square off and it costs Cloten his head. Buchmuller Park, Secaucus, NJ
The sisters lament the loss of the their new friend, the disguised Imogen.
With the impending Roman invasion, Belarius and his family swear to defend their country.
Emerging victorious over the Romans with a little help from Belarius, Cymbeline (Tim Baird) questions Iachimo on the disappearance of his daughter. Pier A Park, Hoboken, NJ
The final scene of the show wrapped up looses ends and revealed the true identities of all. The Roman Soothsayer is called forth to read a tablet given to Posthumous during a divine meeting with the god Jupiter. In it, the gods give their blessing to Posthumous and Imogen's marriage and good fortune to Cymbeline with the return of his lost children. Meadowland Park, South Orange, NJ
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