Other Stuff: Cymbeline’s Reign

by Lynn on September 3, 2014

in The Passionate Playgoer

I’m not really reviewing Cymbeline’s Reign that closed in Withrow Park this past weekend. I saw a performance that was stopped close to the end of the show because of rain, but I still want to talk about it.

It’s produced in Withrow Park by the spunky Theatre in the Ruff. It’s based on William Shakespeare’s play, Cymbeline.

It’s been adapted to a short two hours by Andrew Joseph Richardson.

It’s about Imogen, the daughter of King Cymbeline from his first marriage. His second wife wants Imogen to marry her son Cloten. Imogen is revolted—who can blame her? Cloten is a blockhead, a clot, and a blight. So she secretly marries Posthumus whom she does love, and who is then banished by Cymbeline.

In a complicated ruse Imogen’s faithfulness is challenged and Posthumus falls for the ruse. I know how it ends, but the rains came before the audience could find out, because the show had to be stopped.

Actually it began raining 15 minutes after the show began and the stage management paused for about 10 minutes to see if the rain would stop. I got an umbrella from my car and went back to the site.

People sought shelter in one of the nearby buildings. The rain stopped. We all resumed our places on the hill. The show continued until almost a half an hour before the end when it began raining in earnest and that was that for the night.

Even in this truncated situation there is impressive work by Kaitlyn Riordan as an impassioned Imogen. Also impressive is David Patrick Flemming as the dastardly Iachimo. Flemming plays him like a strutting, charming devilish Italian.

I just love the spunk of the company and of the people who came out and didn’t leave.

There certainly is something different about the people who go to see plays in a proper theatre and those who take a blanket and sit on the hill of any outdoor theatre, watching the play unfold.

They make a commitment when they brave the elements to see theatre outdoors. Umbrellas went up when the rain came and people didn’t move. The cast continued to play until the stage manager stopped the show for a bit. I love that tenacity.

A mother came with her two kids who looked to be about 4 and 6 years old. Those kids were totally attentive. They did make a pit stop at one point but came back to watch. I loved how the older kid plopped himself down on the family blanket and was so engaged!! A theatre goer I hope for life.

The only noise heard was some goofball talking loudly on his cell phone on the pathway behind the audience.

Doing theatre outside is always a risky business—the weather being the most unpredictable—but people come out and support this stuff.

I love these companies be it Canadian Stage in High Park, or Driftwood Theatre Group and its Bard on the Bus Tour, or the Humber River Shakespeare company, or Theatre in the Ruff—all doing Shakespeare outdoors.

And people come out—families in many cases. Glorious and inspiring and hopeful for the future of theatre.

I look forward to seeing what all these companies have in store for us next year.

You can read my blog at www.slotkinletter.com twitter @slotkinletter

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