[So, how was everybody’s summer? Sorry I haven’t been posting as much as I used to, many projects have pulled me in many directions that are not Shakespearean. I shall try to return to a better pace now that the kids are back in school.]
Who’s excited about the new Cymbeline movie? It’s getting primarily billed as Ethan Hawke’s project, and I know that when we hear Ethan Hawke we think Hamlet(2000), a movie I still haven’t been able to sit through. But it appears young Mr. Hawke is quite the up and coming Shakespearean – not only did he tackle Macbeth, he documented his research for PBS’s Shakespeare Uncovered series. And now Cymbeline. Maybe he’s just doing it backwards? Maybe he should have worked his way up to Hamlet? 🙂
Now let’s look at the supporting cast. Ed Harris! I love him in just the right supporting role. Apollo 13 (“We’ve never lost an American in space, we’re sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option.”)? The Truman Show (“Cue the sun.”)? The Rock (“You’ve been asked by an old friend. You’re being ordered by a superior officer. Now you’re being given your last chance by a man with a gun.”)? He always gets the best line in the movie, and nails it every time.
And how about John Leguizamo? He’s got some Shakespeare under his belt, having playing Tybalt to Leo DiCaprio’s Romeo. Whether you liked that movie or not, I think most people will agree that Leguizamo can bring the villain out whenever he needs to.
The funny thing is I know nothing about Cymbeline. I know there’s a king, but that king is Ed Harris and is a relatively minor role. So, rather than have me look it up on Wikipedia or Sparknotes, how about somebody tells us the story? I’ll ask the same questions I skim for whenever I’m about to watch a play for the first time:
- High level plot overview. Everybody needs some plot.
- Famous quotes or moments the play is known for? I learned the importance of this when I saw As You Like It in the park. The crowd was all noisy and buzzing, like crowds are, until Jaques boomed, “All the world’s a stage…” and it was like you could hear a pin drop. As if the entire crowd in unison said, “Oh hey, I recognize that!” and started listening.
- Important scenes / subject to interpretation that will make for interesting “Why did they do it that way?” discussion afterward. Every production of every Shakespeare play is different, and that’s why we love them. Once you’re an expert in any given play you can pick out every last detail – but when you’re seeing it for the first time you’re not going to have much to compare it against. So we pick some scenes to stick in our memory. For instance I once saw a King Lear who actually bargained with the storm in his big scene, if you can believe it. I’ll never forget him cowering from the thunder while he gave his big speech as if he was complimenting nature on how big and powerful she was.
So who knows their Cymbeline?