Berkeley Shakespeare Company Presents CYMBELINE

Cymbeline will be presented at Live Oak Theater at May 10-26.

By: May. 13, 2024
Berkeley Shakespeare Company Presents CYMBELINE
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Berkeley Shakespeare Company has announced its latest theatrical endeavor: William Shakespeare's challenging and timely, Cymbeline.

One of the Bard's lesser produced works, Cymbeline has enjoyed a spate of recent revivals thanks to its topical subject matter around a young woman, a family, and a nation all finding their identity in a quickly transitioning world. Helmed by director Stuart Bousel, whose contributions to the Bay Area Shakespeare community has included hit productions of The Merchant of Venice (Custom Made Theatre Company), Measure for Measure (SF Theatre Pub), and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Atmostheatre/Theatre in the Woods), Berkeley Shakes is set to deliver a production of Cymbeline as eccentric and compelling as the play itself. Reduced from its usual run time of over three hours to a sleek hour and forty minute one act, Bousel sees himself as adaptor as well as director, seeking to condense the story of Cymbeline while preserving the scope of its themes and the layered complexity of its characters.

"The tricky part is that Cymbeline was, according to scholarly consensus, an experiment, the second in an attempt by Shakespeare and Company to create a new genre of hybridized tragedy and comedy- the romances, as we call them- that would both capture the absurdity of life and the grace of forgiveness and redemption. It has a rather haphazard story, an over abundance of ideas, and notoriously, it is named after a supporting character who is instrumental to the plot, but not the most developed personality on the stage. Every production of the show must thus wrestle with whose story is being told, the tone in which to present it, and how to keep the audience engaged plot twist after plot twist." As Bousel said to the cast at the first rehearsal: "It may not be possible to do a perfect production of Cymbeline, but you can definitely do a really interesting one."

In recognition of this, Bousel has assembled a diverse and talented cast of Bay Area locals who will bring this unusual play to life in a production he dubs, "Celtic Romano Punk Drag", thanks in large part to the design efforts of local costumer, Genevieve Perdue. Audiences will recognize a few faces from previous Berkeley Shakes shows, with Elana Swartz and Phillip Leyva playing the lovers Imogen and Posthumus, as well as new actors who bring something fresh to the company, alongside community pillars like Carl Lucania in the title role, and Valerie Fachman in the pivotal role of Belarius. Ron Talbot adds a touch of fight choreography, and Cody Rishell designed the posters.

The production will be held on the following dates and locations:

  • Live Oak Theater:

    • May 10-26

      • Fridays and Saturdays @ 7:30 PM

      • Sundays at 2 PM

Tickets for Cymbeline are available for purchase on Eventbrite and

Cast list:

Cymbeline - Carl Lucania

Queen/Soothsayer - Alejandra Wahl

Imogen - Elana Swartz

Posthumus - Phillip Leyva

Iachimo - Isaac Kumpula

Cloten/Captain - Skyelar Clouse

Helen - Lisa Wang

Cornelia - Francis Serpa

Belarius - Valerie Fachman

Guiderius - Aisha Rivera

Arviragus - Melanie Kibbler

Philario/Caius Lucius - Abe Karplus

Cloten/Captain u/s - Erika Bakse



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