Cymbeline

Adaptations

The play was adapted by Thomas d'Urfey as The Injured Princess, or, the Fatal Wager; this version was produced at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, presumably by the united King's Company and Duke's Company, in 1682.[33] The play changes some names and details, and adds a subplot, typical of the Restoration, in which a virtuous waiting-woman escapes the traps laid by Cloten. D'Urfey also changes Pisanio's character so that he at once believes in Imogen's (Eugenia, in D'Urfey's play) guilt. For his part, D'Urfey's Posthumus is ready to accept that his wife might have been untrue, as she is young and beautiful.[34] Some details of this alteration survived in productions at least until the middle of the century.

William Hawkins revised the play again in 1759. His was among the last of the heavy revisions designed to bring the play in line with classical unities. He cut the Queen, reduced the action to two places (the court and a forest in Wales).[35] The dirge "With fairest flowers..." was set to music by Thomas Arne.[36]

Nearer the end of the century, Henry Brooke wrote an adaptation which was apparently never staged.[37] His version eliminates the brothers altogether as part of a notable enhancement of Posthumus' role in the play.

George Bernard Shaw, who criticised the play perhaps more harshly than he did any of Shakespeare's other works, took aim at what he saw as the defects of the final act in his 1937 Cymbeline Refinished; as early as 1896, he had complained about the absurdities of the play to Ellen Terry, then preparing to act Imogen. He called it "stagey trash of the lowest melodramatic order". He later changed his view, saying it was "one of the finest of Shakespeare's later plays", but he remained convinced that it "goes to pieces in the final act".[38] Accordingly, in Cymbeline Refinished he rewrote the last act, cutting many of the numerous revelations and expositions, while also making Imogen a much more assertive figure in line with his feminist views.[39]

Screen adaptations

Elijah Moshinsky directed the BBC Television Shakespeare adaptation in 1983, ignoring the ancient British period setting in favour of a more timeless and snow-laden atmosphere inspired by Rembrandt and his contemporary Dutch painters. Richard Johnson, Claire Bloom, Helen Mirren, and Robert Lindsay play Cymbeline, his Queen, Imogen, and Jachimo, respectively, with Michael Pennington as Posthumus.[40]

In 2013, Ethan Hawke re-teamed with director Michael Almereyda to star in which he will play Iachimo.[41] The film is to be released under the title Cymbeline, and is set in the context of urban gang warfare. Ed Harris takes the title role. Penn Badgley plays the orphan Posthumus;[42] Milla Jovovich plays the role of the Queen;[43] Anton Yelchin is Cloten; and Dakota Johnson plays the role of Imogen.[44]

An operatic adaptation by American composer Christopher Berg exists;[45] scenes were performed in 2009.[46]


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