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Archikulture Digest

by Carl F Gauze

Archive for February, 2012

Crispin Hellion Glover’s Big Slide Show Part 2

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Crispin Hellion Glover’s Big Slide Show Part 2
With Crispin Hellion Glover
Feb 22, 2012
Including the film “It is Fine. Everything is Fine”
Directed by Crispin Hellion Glover and David Brothers
Starring Steven C. Stewart

Enzian Theatre, Maitland FL

Rarely have I been so stumped walking out of a show. Yeah, Glover follows a Dada esthetic and is notorious for genuinely weird shows, but this evening made my jaw drop. Mr. Glover is a pleasant looking man with a friendly, pleasant demeanor and vaguely British accent. His TV and film resume impresses (“Gilbert Grape,” “Back to the Future,” “Hot Tub Time Machine,” “Donner Party”) although some of his projects have amazingly low IMDB scores and there’s even an anti-fan campaign to drive “Epic Movie” into the IMDB “Bottom 100”. Mr. Glover is certainly interesting, but let us begin at the beginning.

A line of storms blew thought town as I headed to the show, yet I was shocked to see a huge line of people lined up on the mulch carpet. I just barely got a ticket, and the auditorium was crackling with energy. We began with little ceremony; Mr. Glover’s head appeared in a small, angry red pin spot against a black curtain. As pages of his surrealist books appeared behind him, he read such titles as “Concrete Inspection,” “Rat Catching” and “Oak Mot”. He did edits on the fly, there was quite a bit of material to get through and judiciously skipped lines did not diminish is effect. Each of these books appears to date from Victorian times with the type fonts and illustration styles of 150 years ago, but Mr. Glover has done major editing and art revision and created clearly derivative works for our new century.

He began with “Concrete Inspection.” Words in the underlying book are blocked out and rewritten in a scratchy pen hand. Original meaning is muddied, the text redirects to a place only his internal muse can visit, and the audience reacts favorably. Staccato laughter and occasional applause arise spontaneously but as he proceeds, the laughs diminish, more and more people find reasons to retreat to the lobby to text or pee or pick up a copy of the Orlando Weekly or the Park Press. Clearly the spirits of Marcel Duchamp and René Magritte haunt him, but I find less and less to intrigue. My table mate leans over and asks “How many books has he read so far?” The answer is not important, but the sub text is: “I’m bored. When will he stop?” Staunch your wounds, brave literary soldier, that was the last one. Assess this as a poetry reading and it’s tolerable, but as storytelling it’s … Technically, its story telling. Leave it at that.

And now its film time. Glover shows volume two of his trilogy of films, and his reputation as an eccentric shines through in “It is Fine. Everything is Fine.” Here we meet Paul Baker (Stewart) who has cerebral palsy and a rich fantasy life. While his reality is trapped in a nursing home, in his mind he’s a suave ladies man, and while none of us can understand a word he says, the women find him irresistible. His first conquest is middle aged divorcee, and then her barley legal daughter. Their long hair fascinates him, but when the women think about cutting it, he murders them. More women enter his life, the sex becomes more explicit, and pretty soon we are in a serial killer sex film with full on Rule 34 cerebral palsy hard core. As credits roll Mr. Glover takes the stage for Q&A time. I forget the first question but it gets a rambling 10 minute answer explaining the motivation and back-story of the film. A trailer for his first film “What Is It?” rolls; it features naked Down’s syndrome people wearing elephant masks. His point, as I understand it, is to question “What makes the depiction of disabled on screen so troubling?” While that’s a legitimate question, I’m not sure I want to explore it with him anytime soon. But it’s just a trailer, it’s late and I’m done with questions and have to go pick up tree limbs.

Keep up with Mr. Glovers appearances at http://crispinglover.com/

More Enzian Theatre events can be found at http://www. Enzian.org

Hedda Gabler

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Hedda Gabler
By Henrik Ibsen
Directed by Eric Zivot
Starring Robb Ross, Melanie Whipple, Steven Lane
Mad Cow Theatre, Orlando Fl

Hedda Gabler: proto feminist, victim of circumstance, female Hamlet – take your pick. Tonight she’s a conniving little social climber with a brace of pistols on the dining room table, just in case someone needs to fight a duel of honor or politely excuse themselves from her social climb in the salons of Oslo. Just as soon as the maid Berta (Sara Humbert) finishes dusting the exposition, we meet the feisty Hedda (Whipple). She married dishrag and scholar George Tesman (Ross) who is more interested in medieval French domestic industries than modern Norwegian bedroom activities. His appointment is at risk, rival and alcoholic Lovborg (Lane) prepared a sensational manuscript that will vault him to notoriety over Tesman. I always recommend bringing the single copy of your life’s work along when you go out for a hard night’s drinking, otherwise how else would Tesman find it in the snow? Oily Judge Brack discovers Hedda has destroyed the manuscript and plans to use that fact for a little side entertainment. Thank goodness for everyone those decorative pistols come complete with powder and caps.

Like all early century northern European manners plays, this one is crammed into a suffocatingly congested set. Large chairs fill the narrow aisle between the audience and even in the back row you’re always close enough to see Hedda’s pores. Whipple’s crimped and hennaed hair and fussy dress scream “I’m respectable! I have money” even as Tesman’s demeanor and shabby vest whisper “I hope someday to sit at the cool table in the faculty lounge.” There’s some chemistry between Lane’s dissolute young genius and Hedda and as soon as we see him it’s obviously she played the wrong hand. Agent provocateur Judge Brack moves effortlessly between moral dilemma and relentless self gratification – Lanier often plays the frustrated loser, but as a man with hidden power he’s actually a bit intimidating. Opposite Hedda is her friend and puppet Mrs. Elvsted (Emily Killian,) she’s left one husband and has Lovborg’s working notes. She may be a pushover but she’s dangerous to Hedda’s position and Brack might not help Hedda, but we will help himself. There’s nowhere to go now, so we might as well turn off the lights.

Director Zivot build a powerful set of emotions in this tiny space – while Hedda’s social position is subject to forces she can no longer control, she still wields some power over the men surrounding her. She ably leverages desire and availably to recover her original goal, but like a man levering granite blocks on top of one another slippage is always an option, and failure a painful crushing force that you initiate but cannot stop.

For more information on Mad Cow, please visit http://www.madcowtheatre.com

Writing Down The Beat: An Introduction to Jack Kerouac

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Writing Down The Beat: An Introduction to Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac Writer In Residence Program
February 25, 2012
Part of ArtsFest
Kerouac House, Orlando FL

I’ve seen the greatest minds of my generation consumed by Angry Birds. I’ve seen the inside of the Kerouac house – a bungalow from another generation, filled with replicas of the past and writers of the future. I’ve seen my youth mocked, by itself, by the internet, and it was funny. Yes, I’m back at ArtsFest. This time it’s the Beat Writer’s Workshop, a splendiferous mash up of history and literature and the wanabees and gonnabees of the next generation. The house is small, the audience friendly. A woman named Jenna with a hobbitish accent guides us through the session: a stream of consciousness video with a local newscaster, a short history of the house, then a vintage Coronet film made during Kerouac’s most active years encouraging us to “plan ahead.” As a writer, if you don’t plan you do so your own risk. You write 800 page self-published trilogies and ask your friends read them and not point out the dialog is trite, the story hackneyed, and the premise done to death.

Wannabee and Gonnabee writers.

Coffee. They have coffee, it’s the fuel of spurious thoughts and the lubricant of business and it is HOT. Hot and bitter liked a spurned lover, hot like a hippy at a Gingrich rally, hot like a black vinyl car seat and cut off jeans. There is a Writer in Residence. She resides here, writing and residing. I don’t know what she writes, did write, will write, can write, could write, but she reads well. She reads a passage from “On The Road.” I read half of it years ago and ran out of steam. I feel guilty – sitting here, drinking Kerouac’s coffee, using Kerouac’s electricity, Kerouac’s guest bathroom, his oxygen, his bandwidth, his good will. I should read it to assuage my guilt. I have a hard copy and bootleg kindle version so I have no excuse. I would rather play Angry Birds.

Would Jack Kerouac own this lamp?

Being a workshop, we are now put to work. Told to write, asked to show our work, encouraged to revel in other’s work. We are all seriously writing, spread out on benches and chairs writing the next Great American Paragraph. Some write in the place Kerouac survived a fever, some write in his bathroom, his bedroom, his mother’s arm chair. We are all typing, scribbling, creating. I think, I pray, supplicating the gods of writing, gods with a small “g”:Mr. Royal, Mr. Underwood, Mr. Smith, Mr. Corona, and most recently Mr. Gates. I pray “Please god: don’t let this suck.”

Thank you. Tip your server. I’ll be here all week.

More events at the Kerouac House may be seen at http://kerouacproject.org/

Arts Fest events are listed at http://www.artsfestfl.com

Tea & Letters: Great Urban Spaces 2

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Tea & Letters: Great Urban Spaces 2
Voci Dance
February 19, 2012
The Mennello Museum of American Art, Orlando, FL

It’s a windy breezy afternoon, pollen is in the air and oak leave skitter across the brick pavement at the Mennello Museum of American Art. ArtsFest has passed out some tickets to see this elaborate dance event and I’m about #80 on the list but I also have faith. All the ArtsFest events have a few no shows, and as you’ve heard showing up is 80% of success. While waiting for the show to start, I converse and eat a few cupcakes.

Love Letters We Do Not Like.

Voci shows tend to sneak up on you; a woman in a grey tattered dress stalks out of the crowd and wanders toward a large oak tree. The event begins as people focus on her and soon she’s unwrapping a roll of paper tape and reads a love letter in what might be Hungarian. More dancers appears, more scrolls unroll and soon a mass reading occurs, paper is shredded, and you wonder if this side of the romance will stick around. As love letters shred, one of the dancers steps up to the elevated statue of a seminude man mounted on a pole. He lives in the park, and the dancer introduces herself, makes a pass at him, and is rejected. His golden skin with the sun sparkling off it turns yellow and jaundiced, his eloquent hair gets the frizzies, and his exotic silence becomes annoying self indulgences. Good this she figured all this out before they picked a china pattern. Soon an “interval” is announced (That’s British for intermission) more cupcakes are consumed, and tea is passed out. All very elegant.

Pineing for the Man She Cannot Have.

Our next excursion takes us in the darkened galley with a single dancer illuminated in an alcove. In another room we meet a young lady drinking imaginary tea from a real cup. Her motion is as close to ballet as anything today as she performs around a pin spot that normally highlights a piece of sculpture. We reunite in the “Big Gallery”; here Earl Cunningham’s primitives form the main attraction of the Mennello’s collection. Three huge oriental rugs are surrounded by metal folding chairs, and the entire troupe reforms. As Sarah Lockhart reads Old Fashioned rules for formal letter writing (check your spelling, read it before you send it, stuff we can safely ignore today) more paper rolls are shredded, more virtual tea is consumed, and soon the room is invaded by a large black and red puppet called “Godrick.” He’s intimidating but attracts a young woman with his charms, they to hit it off, and she will certainly have something to write about this evening. Then it s bit more tea, a bit more Victorian probity, and we are spun back out into a perfect Florida spring day. Its modern dance, the old fashioned way.

The Precision Tea Drinking Team


Rejoining indoors, the audience is split up into groups based on the color of their heart shaped doilies. My group enters a gallery dominated by an oversized gilt bronze statue of the museum’s patron; it blends Margaret Dumont and Maggie Thatcher in a Victorian dress and sets her on the bow of the Hesperus. A single dancer executes some delicate maneuvers on the floor but she can’t seem to find her light and it’s hard to ignore the Bronze Goddess. I think I missed the intended effect.

Beauty and the Felt Beast

Other events and exhibits at the Mennello are described at http://www.mennellomuseum.com/

Visit www.vocidance.org for their next exciting dance event.

A Behanding in Spokane

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

A Behanding in Spokane
By Martin McDonagh
Directed by Jeremy Wood
Howler’s Theatre presenting at Art’s Sake Studio
Winter Park, FL

Carmichael (Scott Browning) lost his hand. Something to do with redneck hillbillies and a train outside of Spokane. The details of this country love song are fuzzy, but he did see his hand waving as it went over the next hill and he wants it back if only for sentiment. Tonight might be his lucky night; Toby (Aaron Smalls) and Marilyn (Jamie-Lyn Markos) offer their spare hand for $500 even if it’s not racially correct. Maybe Marilyn brought the wrong one, and Carmichael is concerned the one they forgot back home matches his DNA. His are typical private party sales concerns all collectors have – authenticity, provenance and whether this hand reads “Hate” across the knuckles all influence his final decision. He ties up the sellers, sets a candle in a gas can, and takes off to do market research while the speed freak hotel clerk (Tony Demil) visits with the couple. Will the deal go down? Will the hotel burn quickly? Will anyone in the audience get shot?

“Behanding” mixes a gruesome comedy with foul language and insane emotions and while I’m never sure what the author is trying to say, I know I’m just barely safe huddling outside the 4th wall. Browning does what he does best; he’s the short tempered psycho about to explode. Marilyn isn’t too bright but she nearly flirts the desk clerk into releasing her. Toby knows he slipped up, and seems shocked to find that Carmichael isn’t just dealing with him. Craziest of all is the clerk, he gets whole scene of body building and Red Bull chugging, and while he might not have a gun, he might be even more deadly than Carmichael. Intense and edgy, this isn’t for everyone and while the director hoped for some bad press to get out and help sell the show, I won’t give it. See this on its merits, and remember – it starts at 10 for a DAMN GOOD REASON.

For more exciting information about Howler’s Theatre, visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/Howlers-Theatre/170793812961668

For more information on Art’s Sake Studios, check www.art-sake.com/

Fuddy Meers

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Fuddy Meers
By David Lindsay-Abaire
Directed by Heather Lam
Renegade Theatre
Presented at Breakthrough Theatre, Winter Park FL

I suppose if you want to tackle spousal abuse and stroke aftereffects and not get run out of town on a tar covered rail Surrealism may be your best approach. Claire (Nikki Darden) has Memento style sleep reset amnesia. Every morning she wakes up a blank slate, although she reads and speaks English and can dress herself with no problems. Thoughtful yet abusive hubby Richard (David Clayton West) keeps a briefing book for her while her snotty son Kenny mostly bums money for drugs. Clare finds delighting everything, even a kidnapping by the mysterious Limping Man (David Strauss) and his slight slow assistant Millet (Dent.) They all rendezvous at Clair’s mom Gertie’s (Jennifer Rhea) place, the artfully undisclosed motivations are revealed, and Gertie gives a speech in stroke talk. It’s all very tasteless, but very funny.

While characters interact just enough to nudge each other’s actions, they spend most of their energy on whatever obsession captures their short attention spans. Kenny loves pot and hates his dad who feels slightly bad he misplaces Claire. The Limping Man bumbles through a carefully unplanned kidnapping wearing a Missing Ear prosthetic that looks like Princess Leia with a hair infection. Tabitha Rox appears as a sweaty fake cop in love with Mr. Ear Fungus while Ms Rhea looks like she was beaten by a makeup man. And a special notice about Mr. Dent – he can’t hula hoop for crap but does a superb job articulating the sock puppet Mr. Hinkey Dinkey. Teach that man some mime, and he’d be ready to hassle tourist on a street corner.

This production was noticeably funnier than the one I saw a few years back, even with the intensely choreographed prop migration that marks each scene transition. I applaud the stage manager (Jess Boutwell) for organization, but this theatre is just a rather large walk in closet. . Lindsay-Abaire’s take on women, abuse and speech impediments can grate occasionally, but if you view the show as an episode of Adult Swim you should easily bury any liberal / humanitarian feelings under a good dose of guilty pleasure.

For more information on Renegade Theater, please visit www.renegadetheaterorlando.org

A Raisin in the Sun

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

A Raisin in the Sun
By Lorraine Hansberry
Directed by John DiDonna
Staring Cherise James, Parris Baker, Marshay Weaver, avis-Marie Barnes
Valencia College Theatre, Orlando Fl

Down beneath love, family and pride lies some basics economics – we’re all fighting for scarce resources. The Younger family is no different – in post war Chicago the patriarch of the family is dead and a $10,000 insurance settlement falls to Mama (Barnes). How best to deploy it? Her son Walter Lee (Baker) aims for a part interest in a South Side liquor store, daughter Beneatha (Weaver) wants shot at med school, and Mama debates buying a nice little house in a block busted white neighborhood, or just give it to church. Tossing it out the window won’t help their economic position, but it removes the stress of possible success. In the end nearly all options get exercised to some degree, including an invitation to Beneatha to move to Nigeria and discover her black heritage just as Colonialism collapses.

Everyone on stage is full of self destroying pride, and they let the world know about it. Mama keeps the flame of pride alive, even though her proudest accomplishment is having avoided lynching; but now she’s ready to move into the maw of white racism. Walter Lee wavers and quavers, he’s ineffective but puts the blame on everyone around him, particularly his hard working and occasionally pregnant wife Ruth (James.) Beneatha (I keep scanning that as “beneath ya”) wavers between college boy George Murchison (Devante Mills) and the nappy haired Nigerian Joseph Asagai (Mackenzie Jenkins). Murchison is rich and boring but his daddy owns big hotels, and Asagai is exotic and idealistic and is happy to know he might hold office in his homeland, and if he’s murdered in his bead it will be at the hands of his countrymen and not those damn French and Brits. That’s setting the bar low for your homeland.

While this show dates back to the peak of the civil rights movement, it still packs some emotional punch. You sort of want to like Walter Lee, but you also want to tell him to get off his “ya’ll ain’t letting me be a MAN!” hobby horsy and focus on how use what he has effectively. Shaking down white neighborhoods may not be the most moral job, buts it no worse than what’s being done to the Younger family. Murchison points forward and shows it’s possible to break out of the ghetto and plantation mentality, Asagai points backwards and shows that black empires did quite well half a millennia ago, and now the Younger family has to do what homesteaders have always done – adapt their strengths to the current environment, and focus on what they can do today, not on what their parents did a generation ago.

For more information on Valencia Character Company, please visit http://valenciacollege.edu/artsandentertainment/Theater/

The Underpants

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

The Underpants
By Steve Martin
Directed by Frank Hilgenberg
Starring Peter Penuel, Emily Coppens, Cory Boughton
Theatre Downtown, Orlando FL

Fame is fleeting, as is household dignity in late Imperial Germany. Theo Maske (Peter Penuel) holds a tenuous job as a midlevel clerk while his wife Louise (Emily Coppens) has a tenuous grasp on her undies. They fell off, Art Frahm-style, just as the King paraded by and now she’s the talk of the town. Latin Lothario Frank Versati (Boughton) moves into the spare room but has to split it with the pervy Benjamin Cohen (Eddy Coppens). They both aim to seduce Louise while upstairs spinster Gertrude Deuter (Leslie Penuel) drags Louise down the path of perdition. Theo’s oblivious, but he knows Louise’s place as a small housewife to a small bureaucrat. When Versati catches wind of another target, he’s off to the races and without Versati, what point does Cohen have to make? But then the king (Kirk Woods) drops by to promote Theo and check out Louses’ new silk panties and now Mr. Cohen has a new roommate.

In this salacious comedy of manners, it helps to understand how uptight the bourgeoisie were about scandal, the act of sin was nowhere near as bad as the neighbor’s gossip. Penuel is perfect for the Man of the Haus, he’s crisps and erect, cuts his hair short and likes his sausages cut end to end. Innocent Louise does whatever society wants her to do, her flashes of independence are quickly punished, but she’s still a willing vessel for everyone else’s fantasy. The real comic chemistry flew between Klinghoffer and Versati, they were the ying and yang of aggressive sexuality and repressed private fantasy – Versati loves the idea of love almost as much as he loves himself while Cohen is that creepy guy hanging out in the chat room. While he probably won’t do anything, don’t give him your real Facebook account.

There are plenty of laughs; the text reads a little flat but the jokes are all dead pan comedy and innuendo and tight timing set this production above others I’ve seen. When Theo makes a pass at Gertrude and tells her “plenty of water flows from rusty pipes” you’re not sure whether to cheer them on or just cringe until the feeling pass. The jokes are adult, the laughs preteen, and this is a sex comedy for those not getting enough.

For more information on Theatre Downtown, please visit http://www.theatredowntown.net

The Best of Broadway 1990-1994

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

The Best of Broadway 1990-1994
Directed by Wade Hair and Joey Sikkema
Breakthrough theatre, Winter Park Florida

In the wavering candle of Breakthrough’s rather fluid schedule they periodically pull together one of these “Best of” series. The musical selections are eclectic and chosen to match the director or the singer’s preferences, which isn’t a bad thing. If you’re going to sing, why not pick the songs you like and can? That’s taken us down some obscure musical paths, and the period chosen tonight gave us a large number of revivals. We open with some tunes from “Beauty and the Beast” which kicked off Disney wildly successful Broadway adaptations. While “No Matter What” was a little saccharine for my taste Krystal Gillette’s “Home” was outstanding. Later we run into the “Gypsy” revival, which features gives stage mom’s a place to showcase their children. “May We Entertain You” features Mackendrick Zavitz and Carly Swain, and “If Momma Was Married” gives Madison and Kelty Zavitz a chance to crow. Less cute but much sexier singing comes from Vicki Burns and her “You Can Always Count On Me” from “City of Angels.” She sings it like a party girl whose always number 2 on some guy’s hit list, and you felt the fall out of the 1960’s sexual revolution. Act One wraps with a “Guys and Dolls Medley” and the song that made me sit up and take notice was Natasha Ticotin belts “Adel’s Lament.” It’s a tough song, and you have to sing with a head cold. That’s a skill, all right.

Some tunes from “Grease” opens Act 2 with the unusual “Alma Mater” and the romantic “Mooning”. Miss Saigon gave us two show stoppers: “Why God Why” by Jamaal Solomon and Vicki Burns and Krystal Gillette with “I Believe” You know the old saying – “Lose a war, gain musical.” Director Wade Hair belted a few numbers, including “Lily’s Eyes” from “Secret Garden” and “Look Around” from the “Will Rogers Follies.” The wrap up was a Sweeny Todd Medley with everyone on stage for “Ballad of Sweeney Todd.” The plaintive “By The Sea” featured Vicki Burns wishing she could be lead a normal middle class life, and what more middle class than renting a sea side cottage for the summer? Tonight Breakthrough showcased a solid invigorating show that gave us a taste of some wonderful obscurities and even better voices.

For more information, please visit http://www.breakthroughtheatre.com

Cymbeline

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Cymbeline
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Jim Helsinger
Starring David Hardie and Carey Urban
Orlando Shakespeare Festival, Orlando Fl

What kind of comedy cuts of Brandon Roberts’ head and tosses it on stage? Well, it’s one that doesn’t get done very often and only counts as a comedy in the technical sense that the hero and leading lady are together at the end. Your first warning this might challenge the audience as well as the cast is the suspiciously large amount of exposition unloaded in the very first lines: kidnapped children, an aging king, fading roman power, false poison, bitter revenge, and unexpected reunions. It’s more of a Shakespearean sampler than a coherent whole.

King Cymbeline (Wynn Harmon) rules Britain and owes the Romans some back tribute. His brother Belarius (Johnny Lee Davenport) is banished but kidnapped two of Cymbeline’s sons on his way out. That leaves Imogen (Urban) who is madly in love with hubby Posthumous (Hardie). Posthumous heads to Rome on business and makes a bet with Iachimo (Geoffrey Kent) that Imogen is incorruptible. Not a bad start for a comedy, Iachimo heads up to jolly old England and while he doesn’t actually seduce Imogen, he gets close enough to tell a good story. Meanwhile the jealous stepmother and Queen (Anne Hering) orders up some poison to kill Imogen but the pharmacist gives her sleeping pills instead. She passes it a snivling servant (Michael Raver) with the orders to give it to Imogen whenever she’s feeling out of sorts. Soon we’re hunting with Belarius and Cymbeline’s lost sons (Bradford B Frost and Michael Shenefelt) and Imogen is pretending to be a man and not doing all that badly. You can guess what’s next – murder, mayhem and a loving reunion.

Look closely and you’ll spot a bit of Lear, a good chuck of Othello, a drop of R&J, and the lumber of all the comedies tossed in this blender. Despite the confounding plot and gruesome murder, the cast all has moment to shine. Hardie may tend toward overwrought, but he makes an effective speech closing the first act, and seems genuine hurt when Iachimo tells him about the mole on Imogen’s left breast. Johnny Lee Davenport wields yoga against the elements as the exiled royal, and while I hate to typecast Ms Hering, if I could pick anyone to attempt to poison me, I’d just as soon have her do the job. Urban as Imogen rides thought the Shakespearean antifeminist wringer – bad things happen to her, she never despairs and never asks “why me?” or even “Why at all?” All the complexity plays out on a luminous set: the center stage lift problems last week’s R&J had were greased away, and the opening scene with the Book of Cymbeline on a stand was one of the most beautiful tableaus I’ve seen.

Yes, this is a tough piece to pick through, it’s not Shakespeare’s best but it does incorporate nearly all of his tricks and techniques. It’s rarely done but if you can keep everyone straight it’s not a stock comedy that relies on improbable mistaking identities. I am glad the Shakespeare artistic director is bringing these lesser known pieces to stage, despite the difficulties in staging and viewing, they need to be set out in public for us to all enjoy. And now I only have one more comedy to see in my attempt to get my Shakespeare card completely punched.

For more information on Orlando Shakespeare Theater, visit
http://www.orlandoshakes.org