“If Romeo and Juliet is a comedy gone wrong, perhaps Cymbeline is a tragedy gone right,” say Brody and Steinfeld. As dizzyingly eventful a drama as Shakespeare ever conceived, Cymbeline is Shakespeare's tale of a beautiful princess separated from her beloved, the cruel step-mother who tries to kill her, a credulous husband duped by an adversary, an exiled nobleman who kidnaps a king's sons and a Roman invasion of Britain. In this lightening-paced production, the six-member ensemble plays fourteen roles. A plain white cloth becomes a sail, a bed sheet, and a toga and a trunk becomes a bed, a throne, and a cave. The transformations are magical and playful and true to the play, deepening its themes of illusion, deception and belief.
Cymbeline contains some of Shakespeare’s most haunting lyrics. Fiasco sets Shakespeare’s words to original compositions and traditional sources which range from madrigal to folk to bluegrass performed live by the company.
Last year, The New York Times's Neil Genzlinger hailed the Fiasco Theater production of Cymbeline as "lovable... spunky …dazzling."
Founded in 1979 by Jeffrey Horowitz, Theatre for a New Audience's mission is to help develop and vitalize the performance and study of Shakespeare and classical drama. The Theatre vigorously engages with Shakespeare and plays from the world repertoire. It has played on Broadway, toured nationally and internationally.
In 2001, Theatre for a New Audience became the first American theatre invited to bring a production of Shakespeare to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Stratford-upon-Avon. Cymbeline directed by Bartlett Sher, premiered at the RSC and in 2007, Theatre for a New Audience was invited to return with The Merchant of Venice starring F. Murray Abraham and directed by Darko Tresnjak. The Merchant of Venice will return to New York this winter and play at Pace University's Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, 3 Spruce Street. It previews February 27, opens March 5, and runs through March 13.