If you don’t get — or even like — Shakespeare, then the University of Idaho’s Theatre Arts production of “Cymbeline,” opening tonight at UI’s Hartung Theater, is for you.This is true, said Kelly O’Neill, media relations assistant for the theater, in spite the fact “Cymbeline” was written by Shakespeare. Instead of British accents and tights, though, audiences should expect music from the White Stripes and an umbrella-wielding army wearing “I Heart Roma” shirts. Live-action animations will add another image-rich layer to the show.
To be clear, this is not an updated version of the show — it’s the same show audiences watched hundreds of years ago, just stylistically translated to a modern stage. Director Matt Foss said Shakespeare and his themes are just as accessible for modern audiences as they were for Elizabethan royalty and aims to appeal to a wide cross-section of audience.
“Often when folks come into contact with Shakespeare, they think it is tough to understand, that the language is outdated,” Foss said in an email. “And often, if you give it a shot, within a few minutes your imagination is tying what these folks on stage are saying together … before you even realize it.”
And what’s happening on stage is more than witty language and creative costuming.
“It’s a play full of hope,” Foss, said. “It … resembles the storytelling like that in ‘The Princess Bride’ — battles and mistaken identities and trying to make amends when love goes astray.”
Another unusual element in this production is the live-action animation, using technology created by master of fine arts student Courtney Smith, who recently won a second place national award for scenic design, and fellow student Keely Wright. Live drawings are projected onto the stage to create a background for the scene, ranging from rain and scenery to flags and marching army boots.
If you go:
When: 7:30 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday, May 7-9 and 2 p.m. May 3 and May 10
Where: University of Idaho’s Hartung Theater at 625 Stadium Drive in Moscow
Cost: $15/adult, $10/seniors 55 and older, UI faculty and staff, $5 children 12 and younger, free/UI students with ID. Tickets are available at the door or in advance at BookPeople of Moscow, the theater office in Shoup Hall Room 201 or by calling (208) 885-6465.