Dreams of Renewal and Reconciliation
Director’s notes by Antoni Cimolino

Cymbeline is among Shakespeare's last plays; indeed, an increasing number of scholars think it was his very last. Cymbeline was a king of Britain at the time of the birth of Christ. During the course of the play he earns his kingship and regains his family. In his last plays, his romances, Shakespeare increasingly used "rough magic" to bring about happy endings. In Cymbeline this magic is found in dreaming. The central characters experience dreams that threaten, surprise and yet prepare them for growth.

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Telling Stories, Dreaming Dreams
Program notes by Alexander Leggatt

Some writers towards the end of their careers become complacent and start repeating themselves; Shakespeare became more daring, and Cymbeline is one of the results. In the opening dialogue one character fills in another on events, past and present, of the court to which they both belong. He is, in effect, filling in the audience; it's a shamelessly frank way of bringing us up to speed on the story so far. And throughout the play various characters become narrators, telling us what we need to know to keep up with the story.

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November 2014
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