Another thing I love about “Cymbeline”: 5-5

Golly, only six performances left!  I’d better get crackin’ on my farewell tour of beloved Cymbeline momentry with #2 in the series:  Act V, Scene 5!

I.E., where all 6,000 of the plotlines get ironed out as everyone stands on stage being totally freaking amazed.  This was the last and most difficult scene to put together on this show, but I find it deeply satisfying, and not just because people clap for us at the end of it.  Since it’s where everything comes together, and almost the whole company is on stage for it, and so much is happening emotionally, even to a seemingly uninvolved Roman Soldier (though with all the revelations popping off, there are days when “Is one of these people my father?” pops into my inner monologue), the scene is like an entire play in itself.  If I’m having an off night, a good 5-5 can totally rescue the whole shebang for me.

Let me point out three moments I consistently love. (SPOILERS) The first is when Posthumus steps forward and reveals his presence after Iachimo’s confession that he’d manipluated him into believing his wife Imogen had been unfaithful to him.  Posthumus/Wayne and I enter together and stand way down left in the corner.  As Iachimo tells his tale, Wayne creeps out from behind me, until finally he steps center as if he’s about to throttle Iachimo/Todd.  Then he stops himself, turns, transfers his disgust and anger from the villian onto himself, and utterly destroys me.  The wretched sorrowful emotion that Wayne generates as Posthumus publicly decries his actions has never failed to hypnotically pull me deeper into the moment, and as his understudy, has taught me a lot about playing the role.  Mr. Carr, ladies and gentlemen.

Okay so, sublime to ridiculous–another favorite moment involves self-inflicted pain: biting on the inside of my cheek when Doug Jarecki as the doctor Cornelius, having found out that Imogen drank a really nasty potion that made her appear dead, pipes up and says “O gods! I left out one thing…”  and the audience erupts into laughter.  Having already unleashed a litany of plot-knot-tying bad news onto the King a few moments earlier, the potion explanation is a giant head-slapper for audience and actors alike, as I believe Shakespeare intended it.  Playing it straight-faced is a face-muscle challenge of Herculean proportions (the version of Hercules with a particularly muscular face, that is) and Jarecki does a tremendous job not breaking nightly.  I’m just happy I’m looking directly upstage at that moment.

Finally, a directorial imagistic nod: I love when Posthumus forgives and spares the life of Iachimo, and pulls him up by his arm, as Imogen comes over and takes his other arm, herself having moments before forgiven her husband for, well, trying to have her killed.   I call it The Chain of Forgiveness (Cadena de Perdon), and it is beautiful.  Though nobody knows what “beautiful” means.  The audience and Cymbeline are looking at a couple acts of superhuman forbearance and kindness, the king so touched that he finally learns from the dignity and grace of a younger generation and pardons all trespassers, including one very grateful Lil’ Roman Soldier. 

So yeah.  That’s a good scene.  We had our final student matinee this morning, and tonight our final early bird start time, which is a decently quick turnaround on a two-show day, so excuse me whilst I nap.  Zzz!  More to come!


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