Friday, May 18, 2012


Cymbeline is a weird play. It isn't really a tragedy, despite its title. Our next episode is 12th Night.

Sorry again for the delay: Jeff and I both finished school recently, so we should be able to get these out faster from here on out.


  1. I enjoyed listening to this tonight. I will be seeing Troilus and Cressida in September and would love it if you could cover this before I go.

    1. @lykiphile - The OSF production by any chance? I saw it in March and it was quite good. Shakespeare takes on the greeks!

      It was a long wait between podcasts, but worth the wait. I'd like to know more about you guys, Jeff and Carson. Congratulations on finishing school.


  2. Hey guys, glad to see you back as always. You almost made Cymbeline make sense, even while pointing out why it doesn't.

    Btw: The reason for not giving it a tragic ending is that then you basically have Othello.

    Hoping someday for Henry VIs. Must find out how England turned out!

  3. I suppose it would be awfully similar to Othello. That would probably be an improvement, though.

    If you really want to find out how England ended up, there's always Henry VIII, also known as "the play no one has heard of".

    I'll put Troilus and Cressida into our list of things to do, but it's just so bad!

  4. Thanks for the podcast. As I noted, they are doing this at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario. I'll comment on it after we see it. They did some interesting things with "Titus" last year and made that a more interesting play than I thought it would be.
    By the way, if you can get your hands on the DVD of Stratford's "Twelfth Night" from last season, they had a very fun take on it: they emphasized the music, set all the songs to rock scores (and added Marlowe's "Passionate Shepherd to His Love" and Raleigh's reply set to music). Through costuming, they told the history of rock, all the while creating a thoroughly funny take on the text. Essentially, they took seriously the opening line, "If music be the food of love, play on."

  5. I'm curious to see how people play Cymbeline in the wild. I would cut a lot of stuff, as I mentioned in the episode, but I think Shakespeare loyalists would take offense.

    I'll have to see if I can find that Stratford 12th night.

  6. I enjoyed the BBC edition of "Cymbeline" when I watched it earlier this year - knowing nothing about the play, story or otherwise, I was frankly surprised at the mix of pathos and "happy endings" that it contained, and I'd like to see it again, in a live setting. Your review brought out a lot of points I hadn't considered, when I saw it the first time.

    I second the recommendation of Stratford's "Twelfth Night". I got mine yesterday (only available through the Stratford Shakespeare Festival Website for an UNGODLY 35.00 / with shipping from Canada), but it was very well done, with lots of music, generally well-cast, and superbly produced. I also picked up their 1993 edition of Romeo & Juliet on DVD with Megan Follows, and it was also excellent.)

  7. Whatever you think of the BBC's "Cymbeline," you neglected to mention that it starred a very young Helen Mirren as Imogen.
    Oh, the Trevor Nunn movie version with Helen Bonham-Carter and Ben Kingsley is pretty good, too. As a movie, it probably works better than the Stratford DVD.

  8. Hey guys,

    just discovered your podcast (I was looking on iTunes for something interesting about the bard I love), and enjoyed your episode about villains, to which I listened first. I really did enjoy it, and surely will listen to the other episodes in the next days. Looking forward to your episode on 12th night, a play which is one of my favorites.

    Thanks for all your great work!

    the Netherlands

  9. Hi guys,

    We just wanted to say hi from London and thanks for all the great podcasts; we really enjoy them! We found your site randomly while searching for online Shakespeare lectures and have become addicted. You have a really nice approach and interesting range of topics and plays. Looking forward to your next episode!

    James and Lily

  10. We say the Stratford (Canada) "Cymbeline" this past weekend, and they really make it work quite well. They had relatively few cuts, most notably all the stuff in the book of prophecy in Act V. But they show how much good acting can redeem the play. In the hands of skilled actors, many of the plot devices do not seem so odd, and the accumulation of wonder makes the play work. The last scene was simply joyous, and some say it is the most joyful scene in Shakespeare. Indeed, "Cymbeline" has become the surprise hit of the Stratford season.

  11. And just to prove I'm not an outlier on this, see the linked review from the New York Times: