Back to the church in time for the second night of Ryan and Sam’s Cymbeline. As their show opens in the chapel, I can see what they’ve learned from Dzieci. There’s bottles of wine, cold cuts, cheese and fruit. A banjo and a mandolin playing Appalachian music. Sam telling everyone this is a story about his family. And soon enough, the stage set, the play begins.
This is one of Shakespeare’s stranger plays. And that strangeness increases as they lead us from the chapel up to Mc Alpin and ultimately to the 3rd floor gym.
There’s a place in this play where Shakespeare’s text completely jumps the rails and I didn’t realize it until I got home, but what they did completely got that. When all of a sudden Jupiter appears with lightning bolts and a seriously wtf moment, they launch into a vaudeville song and dance. Which turns out to be exactly right.
I leave thinking about all who have performed in these spaces. The Woodshed summer and fall with the Tenant. John Hudson and the Dark Lady Player’s museum theatre. The amazing show that had a cast of 30 and audience of 1 (at a time.) Jeremy M’s de/reconstruction with Alivewire of the Crucible over 3 floors. Dzieci. And ReGroup’s Trilogy. And now Ryan and Sam’s Free Theatre. All those spirits remain.
And gentle spirits they were. Respectful. Appreciative. Enjoying RL’s attention and parental concern. And, seriously, no attitude. That says a lot.
Sam and Ryan have much to feel good about. They tackled a tough play and at least wrestled it to a draw. They treated Shakespeare with the same respect they treated us. They drew full (and overflow) houses. And put on a damn fine show.
They made my day.