Cymbeline - A Mole Cinque-SpottedSaturday, July 12, 2014
This last Thursday my wife Rosemary and I attended the opening performance of Bill Cain’s Equivocation, directed by Michael Shamata, at the Howard Family Stage at Bard on the Beach.
This time around I have a copy of Cain’s script and I have been immersing myself in it since. Consider that reading the script is almost like being behind the playwright’s shoulder as he has comments and instructions that are priceless.
It is now Saturday night and I find myself pressured by the fact that tomorrow Sunday Rosemary and I will be seeing the opening performance of William Shakespeare’s Cymbeline.
There will be three differences. One is that the director will be Anita Rochon. The second difference is that the Equivocation cast of 6 will have one addition that of Benjamin Elliott. And yet writing about one play will somehow involve writing about the other. The third difference will be Cairns' s performance. I know it will be different from hers in Equivocation.
I really do not want to write here about Cairn’s on the button performance as Shakespeare’s daughter Judith as I will be explaining its complexity (as this amateur saw it) in a later post.
I will only write here that Cairns will be day from night (or the opposite) in how she will will play Imogen. In Equivocation, the only steady and centered player in the play she shows a flustered kind of emotion only once when she is kissed by Anton Lipovetsky’s kiss. I am convinced that this is director Shamata’s doing!
There is one scene from Cymbeline in which I am most curious as to how director Rochon will play it. Here it is from Act II Scene II:
I have read three hours then: mine eyes are weak:
Fold down the leaf where I have left: to bed:
Take not away the taper, leave it burning;
And if thou canst awake by four o' the clock,
I prithee, call me. Sleep hath seized me wholly
To your protection I commend me, gods.
From fairies and the tempters of the night
Guard me, beseech ye.
Sleeps. IACHIMO comes from the trunk
The crickets sing, and man's o'er-labour'd sense
Repairs itself by rest. Our Tarquin thus
Did softly press the rushes, ere he waken'd
The chastity he wounded. Cytherea,
How bravely thou becomest thy bed, fresh lily,
And whiter than the sheets! That I might touch!
But kiss; one kiss! Rubies unparagon'd,
How dearly they do't! 'Tis her breathing that
Perfumes the chamber thus: the flame o' the taper
Bows toward her, and would under-peep her lids,
To see the enclosed lights, now canopied
Under these windows, white and azure laced
With blue of heaven's own tinct. But my design,
To note the chamber: I will write all down:
Such and such pictures; there the window; such
The adornment of her bed; the arras; figures,
Why, such and such; and the contents o' the story.
Ah, but some natural notes about her body,
Above ten thousand meaner moveables
Would testify, to enrich mine inventory.
O sleep, thou ape of death, lie dull upon her!
And be her sense but as a monument,
Thus in a chapel lying! Come off, come off:
Taking off her bracelet
As slippery as the Gordian knot was hard!
'Tis mine; and this will witness outwardly,
As strongly as the conscience does within,
To the madding of her lord. On her left breast
A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops
I' the bottom of a cowslip: here's a voucher,
Stronger than ever law could make: this secret
Will force him think I have pick'd the lock and ta'en
The treasure of her honour. No more. To what end?
Why should I write this down, that's riveted,
Screw'd to my memory? She hath been reading late
The tale of Tereus; here the leaf's turn'd down
Where Philomel gave up. I have enough:
To the trunk again, and shut the spring of it.
Swift, swift, you dragons of the night, that dawning
May bare the raven's eye! I lodge in fear;
Though this a heavenly angel, hell is here.
One, two, three: time, time!
Goes into the trunk. The scene closes
I most look forward to Rachel Cairns's Imogen.