Fri 6 May 2011
Scott Lange on Cymbeline
Hello Pigeon Creek Shakespeare fans!
After a short hiatus I am back to expand your minds and alter your perceptions of reality.
Rehearsals for Pigeon Creek’s next production, Cymbeline, won’t begin until Monday. So the contents of this blog will be less of a report of my acting process, and more of an insight of Pigeon Creek’s decision making process.
If you’ve been following us for a few years (which hopefully you have been,) you know that in the summer of 2009 we produced a production of Julius Caesar with a cast of only women. The production was successful on many levels, but the actors especially felt encouraged and enlivened by the experience.
We decided not only to produce a single-gendered show again this summer, but raise the stakes and perform two.
When Shakespeare was alive and performing, it was actually illegal for women to perform on stage. Most of the women’s roles performed by young boys; with some of the older or comedic women’s roles being played by full grown men. To me, this means that there are jokes and intricacies that might be missed otherwise. Also, as a result of only being able to use a single gender for his casting, Shakespeare’s plays only have a handful of roles for women actors. These are two good reasons for performing an all female production of a play.
We wanted to repeat the idea of 2009, having an all female cast perform a very masculine play. Henry IV: Part I is a play that is well loved by our board. The play’s major themes revolve around honor, respect, parent-child relationships, and coming of age; all things that most female characters in Shakespeare don’t get to experience.
Pigeon Creek has already performed three of the five plays that involved female characters cross-dressing as men. Cymbeline is the next on the list that we want to perform. Like I said earlier, we wanted to up the ante this summer, so in addition to producing an all female play, we will be producing Cymbeline as an all male production. By performing this play the way it was written, with an all male cast, we will learn some things about the play that we would not have discovered otherwise. In addition to cross-dressing, the largest female role, Imogen, is also the largest role in the play. It will be extremely interesting to see what can be found out about the role by a man, playing a woman, pretending to be a man.
You’ll be seeing my greasy fingerprints all over the summer. First I’ll be performing as Iachimo in Cymbeline. I get to fight with Posthumous, be creepy with Imogen, and be an all around lecherous guy. I will also be directing Henry IV: Part I; thus, generally giving grief to all of Pigeon Creek’s talented ladies. I’m looking forward to a fun summer, and I’ll be seeing you then; twice!