starlady: An octopus solving a Rubik's cube.  (original of the species)
[personal profile] starlady
Cymbeline, by William Shakespeare. Dir. Kenneth Kelleher.

I trekked out, along with a motley crew of awesome people, to the Presidio to see S.F. Shakespeare do Cymbeline, which is one of the romances (i.e. later, Jacobean, tragicomedy) and that almost no one in our group had either seen or read before. Seeing or reading it before would not, I think, have done anything to alleviate the utter ludicrousness that is the plot or make it more sensible. I literally said "This is ridiculous!" out loud when they handed out the programs and I read the plot summary, a sentiment that was aptly echoed by Cymbeline in the play in Act V when he says, dumbfounded, "Does the world go round!?" If I start saying this, rest assured, what I mean is, "What the fucking fuck!?"

I'll let you read the Wiki article to attempt to grasp the plot; what I want to talk about is the production, which was nothing short of amazing. The costuming and set design went the route of a sort of Dickensian steampunk look and feel, which worked very well in context (I support modern AUs in Shakespeare costuming in perpetuity), and the actors and the director all performed things with a sort of giddy OTT attitude--though not, let me hasten to clarify, emotionally one-note--that really made the ridiculous plot shenanigans emotionally credible. They also made the very smart decision to have just about every actor but Emily Jordan, who did an amazing job with Innogen, double parts, which certainly helped sell things like Innogen mistaking her stepbrother's beheaded body for her husband's, since they were both played (brilliantly) by Craig Marker. The music was also amazing, a mixture of very well done settings of the music in the text (music is such an important part of the romances, seriously, they're half-masque in some ways) and playing of samples of contemporary things--I recognized at least one Magnetic Fields song, which is fitting since I tend to blame Stephen Merritt's score for the "Coraline" musical for the toy piano that featured (in a suitable way, yes) in the set design in this production.

It being the Presidio, I'd be remiss in not mentioning the weather, or more precisely the fog, because fog in the Presidio does not mess around, and is doubtless the reason why the grass we were sitting on was the cushiest grass I've seen in the state of California. It was a bit chilly by the end, but by no means intolerable since I'd dressed appropriately. There are lots more performances this month; if you can check it out, you totally should!
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