2 Valleys Stage presents Shakespeare's Cymeline
August 12, 2021
SEELEY LAKE - With this year’s performance of Cymbeline, Seeley Lake is privileged to be part of an international experiment brought to us by Montana Shakespeare in the Parks (MSIP). This free event is Monday, Aug. 16 at 6 p.m. on the lawn at the Double Arrow Resort, which is co-hosting the event.
MSIP’s Cymbeline is one of seven unique productions of Shakespeare’s play; other locations range from Kazakhstan to Wales to Yosemite National Park. Although Cymbeline was first staged in 1610, this variation is tailored to uncover ecological values in the play’s range of stories. The cast then hopes to relate these emotions and themes to local environmental conditions, which should be challenging with our smoky skies! This international effort is titled “Cymbeline in the Anthropocene.”
Anthropocene is defined as ‘the current geological age, the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on the environment,” generally seen as beginning with the Industrial Revolution of the 1800’s. Cymbeline’s main story-genre, romance, shows us a way to make implausibly plausible sense of our current age’s heart-rending and mind-bending tragedies. As stated by MSIP, “The play’s romance plots operate in the dramatic mode known as tragicomedy, which mingles sensational sad and happy events. Experiencing the calamities and optimism of tragicomic romance gives us an existential analogue for living with the Anthropocene’s environmental insecurities, perplexities and tenuous hopes.”
Cymbeline dramatizes early British history when Cymbeline was King, during the reign of Caesar Augustus (27 BCE-14CE). This historical era is considered by some to be the original “Brexit”, as Britain was refusing to pay its tribute (taxes) to the Roman Empire. Against this backdrop, Cymbeline’s plot begins when the only living heir to the throne, Innogen, marries a lowborn gentleman, Posthumus, in secret against her stepmother’s wishes. The queen exiles Posthumus, where he is tricked into believing his new wife was unfaithful. In an act of misguided jealous rage, Posthumus sent orders to have Innogen murdered. Warned of the danger, Innogen disguises herself and escapes and begins a perilous journey full of fighting, cross-dressing, betrayal, long-lost heirs and reconciliation.
The production, directed by Executive Artistic Director Kevin Asselin, will have a Grimm’s Fairy Tales feel about it and will employ gender-blind casting. Bring a lawn chair and a blanket. Double Arrow Resort will be providing food and drink for sale.