Romance, comedy, tragedy, death, happy endings, resolutions, lessons learned and lessons not learned. The Annapolis Shakespeare Company’s upcoming production of Cymbeline, which opens Oct. 18 at the Bowie Playhouse, has something for everyone.
“Tackling this work is very exciting because there are a lot of layers to discover in the process,” said Sally Boyette-D’Angelo, artistic director for the company.
Boyette-D’Angelo isn’t kidding when she says that there’s a lot going on in the play, which is one of Shakespeare’s older and longer works. There’s forbidden love, an exiled husband, an evil queen, long-lost brothers, an assassination plot and manipulation in Cymbeline, all in a story that has several correlations with Snow White, said Boyette-D’Angelo.
This production of Cymbeline will have “dream-like quality,” according to Boyette-D’Angelo, with a story teller character that will lead the audience through the play as though it were a dream.
“It’s an elaborate fairy tale,” she said, so patrons can count on epic broadsword battles and elaborate medieval costumes.
One of the biggest challenges the company encountered with the play was its length. The full running time of Cymbeline as written is around five hours, and Boyette-D’Angelo had to significantly cut that down for her actors and the audience.
“We have cut out almost half the play as far of as the text but we have really touched the essence and the spirit of the play,” she said.
One of the strengths of the Annapolis Shakespeare Company, said Boyette-D’Angelo, is it’s ability to take centuries-old stories and translate them for a modern audience.
“We show how these stories are timeless and still relevant today. Jealousy, infidelity all of these themes are today's problems as well as 400 years ago,” she said.
Because audiences may not be as familiar with Cymbeline as with some of Shakespeare’s other works, Boyette-D’Angelo predicts that they will pay close attention and enjoy the two-and-a-half hour dream on stage.
“The audience is constantly being surprised,” she said.
The play opens at the Bowie Playhouse on Oct. 18. Tickets can be purchased online here, and range from $15 to $20, including discounts available for seniors and students.