4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Shag and a freaky hoot

Equivocation at Lamb's Players

Robert Smith gives Shagspere both firmness and humility
Robert Smith gives Shagspere both firmness and humility

In Act Five, scene one, Hamlet tells the Gravedigger, “We must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us.”

“By the card” could refer to Matthew 5:37: “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” In other words, be accurate, be true. Never lie or deceive.

Equivocation

But, Bill Cain’s Equivocation asks, aren’t there times when the truth could cause injustice, even death?

It’s 1606. William Shagspere’s newest play’s about an old man stripped of everything but his tattered soul. Rehearsals prove this Lear-thing “unplayable.”

Enter vile, Richard III-like Robert Cecil, most powerful statesman in England. He’ll pay top dollar for an official version of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

For years, 13 Roman Catholics plotted to blow up Parliament when anti-Catholic King James I was present. Led by Robert Catesby, they dug a tunnel to a vault directly under the House of Lords. On November 5, opening day of Parliament, Guy Fawkes was to ignite 36 barrels of gunpowder — with a “slow match” — then somehow escape and flee to Europe.

Someone alerted the King. Soldiers found Fawkes guarding huge piles of firewood and coal, under which was enough gunpowder to demolish a city block. Fawkes and most of the other conspirators were tortured and put to death. “Guy Fawkes Day” commemorates the event — to some, for his capture; to others, because he was “the last man to enter Parliament with honest intentions.”

Many say Robert Cecil was one of the conspirators. But he wants the official version to leave him out. But Shagspere wants to know what actually happened. When he finds out he wonders: how does one “tell the truth in dangerous times”?

Having William Shakespeare sleuth the Gunpowder Plot would make for some fascinating theater. Even weave equivocation through it as a leitmotif: tell the truth and die? But the playwright adds a baroque excess of threads and strands: asides about life in the theater; about Shakespeare’s youngest daughter, Judith (who married a philanderer whom the Bard wrote out of his will); and rehearsals of plays, and plays within plays, and flashes forward and back. In effect, this play about the Gunpowder Plot has too many plots.

It’s a long sit, but thanks to a crisp and lively production at Lamb’s, offers many highlights as well. Except for a tendency to shout, as if every line were a headline, the cast performs quite well, many in multiple roles, on set designer Sean Fanning’s appealing re-creation of the original Globe stage.

Robert Smith gives Shagspere both firmness and humility, along with — what must have been — world-class curiosity. Shag also has a first: since the Globe never does “current events,” he's never interviewed a living subject until now. He’s one relentless reporter.

Hunched over (he had curvature of the spine), believably insidious, Fran Gercke’s a freaky hoot as Robert Cecil, the man behind the throne — and most likely the Gunpowder Plot. Paul Eggington deftly doubles as Richard (Burbage, the leading actor at the Globe) and as Father Henry Garnet: the former, stately/actorish; the latter the opposite, tight-lipped, immobile.

Brian Mackey and Ross Hellwig do commendable work in multiple roles, and Caitie Grady does what she can with the underwritten Judith, Shakespeare’s other daughter, and one of the most enigmatic people in his biography (the playwright has Shakespeare snub her; others say she didn’t marry until age 32 because he doted on her too much).

Director Deborah Gilmour Smyth also contributed sounds and incidental music. Diana Elledge performs the latter on a resonant, deep sea cello that never once equivocates.

Playing through November 29

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

San Diego aggressive rollerbladers return in strength

Big Wheels invade Balboa Park, Liberty Station
Next Article

Half-baked tracks with organic music quality

Local Natives, Nicey Nice World, Sully Band, Deaf Club, Steve Poltz
Robert Smith gives Shagspere both firmness and humility
Robert Smith gives Shagspere both firmness and humility

In Act Five, scene one, Hamlet tells the Gravedigger, “We must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us.”

“By the card” could refer to Matthew 5:37: “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” In other words, be accurate, be true. Never lie or deceive.

Equivocation

But, Bill Cain’s Equivocation asks, aren’t there times when the truth could cause injustice, even death?

It’s 1606. William Shagspere’s newest play’s about an old man stripped of everything but his tattered soul. Rehearsals prove this Lear-thing “unplayable.”

Enter vile, Richard III-like Robert Cecil, most powerful statesman in England. He’ll pay top dollar for an official version of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

For years, 13 Roman Catholics plotted to blow up Parliament when anti-Catholic King James I was present. Led by Robert Catesby, they dug a tunnel to a vault directly under the House of Lords. On November 5, opening day of Parliament, Guy Fawkes was to ignite 36 barrels of gunpowder — with a “slow match” — then somehow escape and flee to Europe.

Someone alerted the King. Soldiers found Fawkes guarding huge piles of firewood and coal, under which was enough gunpowder to demolish a city block. Fawkes and most of the other conspirators were tortured and put to death. “Guy Fawkes Day” commemorates the event — to some, for his capture; to others, because he was “the last man to enter Parliament with honest intentions.”

Many say Robert Cecil was one of the conspirators. But he wants the official version to leave him out. But Shagspere wants to know what actually happened. When he finds out he wonders: how does one “tell the truth in dangerous times”?

Having William Shakespeare sleuth the Gunpowder Plot would make for some fascinating theater. Even weave equivocation through it as a leitmotif: tell the truth and die? But the playwright adds a baroque excess of threads and strands: asides about life in the theater; about Shakespeare’s youngest daughter, Judith (who married a philanderer whom the Bard wrote out of his will); and rehearsals of plays, and plays within plays, and flashes forward and back. In effect, this play about the Gunpowder Plot has too many plots.

It’s a long sit, but thanks to a crisp and lively production at Lamb’s, offers many highlights as well. Except for a tendency to shout, as if every line were a headline, the cast performs quite well, many in multiple roles, on set designer Sean Fanning’s appealing re-creation of the original Globe stage.

Robert Smith gives Shagspere both firmness and humility, along with — what must have been — world-class curiosity. Shag also has a first: since the Globe never does “current events,” he's never interviewed a living subject until now. He’s one relentless reporter.

Hunched over (he had curvature of the spine), believably insidious, Fran Gercke’s a freaky hoot as Robert Cecil, the man behind the throne — and most likely the Gunpowder Plot. Paul Eggington deftly doubles as Richard (Burbage, the leading actor at the Globe) and as Father Henry Garnet: the former, stately/actorish; the latter the opposite, tight-lipped, immobile.

Brian Mackey and Ross Hellwig do commendable work in multiple roles, and Caitie Grady does what she can with the underwritten Judith, Shakespeare’s other daughter, and one of the most enigmatic people in his biography (the playwright has Shakespeare snub her; others say she didn’t marry until age 32 because he doted on her too much).

Director Deborah Gilmour Smyth also contributed sounds and incidental music. Diana Elledge performs the latter on a resonant, deep sea cello that never once equivocates.

Playing through November 29

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Luis Urrea daydreams of San Diego, Oklahoma girl spends summers on Bonair Street

We buy a $120,000 hoiuse in El Cerrito, an incurable eavesdropper, lives of a beautiful girl and a fat boy in San Diego
Next Article

Bob McPhail wrote about illnesses, finally dies of them

With Reader from 1987 to 2018
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close