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Cymbeline

Plot Summary

Cymbeline, King of Britain when Augustus Caesar was Emperor of Rome, has a daughter, Innogen, and two sons who were stolen in infancy. The queen, his second wife, has a son, Cloten, whom Cymbeline wishes Innogen to marry; but she has secretly married a commoner, Posthumus Leonatus. Cymbeline banishes Posthumus to Rome, where he meets Iachimo, who wagers with him that he can seduce Innogen. Arriving in Britain, Iachimo realizes that she is incorruptible, but, hiding in her bedroom, obtains evidence which convinces Posthumus that he has won the wager. Posthumus orders his servant Pisanio to kill Innogen at Milford Haven, but instead Pisanio advises her to disguise herself as Fidele, a page; in Wales, she meets her brothers, who were stolen twenty years before by the banished nobleman Belarius. Cloten pursues Innogen to Wales in Posthumus' clothes, determined to rape her and kill Posthumus. Instead, he is killed by one of her brothers, and his decapitated body laid beside Innogen, who has taken a potion that makes her appear dead. When she revives, Innogen/ Fidele joins the Roman army, which is invading Britain as a result of Cymbeline's failure to pay tribute to Rome. Posthumus and the stolen princes are instrumental in defeating the Roman army. A final scene of explanations leads to private and public reconciliation.

RSC Staging History 1960-2007

1962 RST: William Gaskill
Rene Allio (design); Clifford Williams (lighting); Marc Wilkinson (music)


Vanessa Redgrave (Imogen), Patrick Allen (Posthumus), Eric Porter (Iachimo), Tom Fleming (Cymbeline), Patience Collier (The Queen), Paul Hardwick (Belarius), Brian Murray (Guiderius), Barry MacGregor (Arviragus), Tony Church (Pisanio), Tony Steedman (Caius Lucius), Leon Sinden (Philario), Gareth Morgan (A Frenchman), Gordon Honeycombe (A Lord), Peter Geddis (Apparition), Margaret Drabble, Nerys Hughes (Ladies)

1974 RST/1974 Aldwych: Barry Kyle, John Barton, Clifford Williams
John Napier (design); David Hersey (lighting)


Susan Fleetwood (Imogen), Tim Pigott-Smith (Posthumus), Charles Keating (Cloten), Ian Richardson (Iachimo), Sebastian Shaw (Cymbeline), Sheila Allen (The Queen), Tony Church (Belarius), Jonathan Kent (Guiderius), Julian Barnes (Arviragus), David Suchet (Pisanio), Robert Ashby (Caius Lucius), Malcolm Armstrong (Philario)

1979 RST: David Jones
Christopher Morley (design); Brian Harris (lighting); Guy Woolfenden (music)


Judi Dench (Imogen), Roger Rees (Posthumus), Bob Peck (Cloten), Ben Kingsley (Iachimo), Jeffrey Dench (Cymbeline), Heather Canning (The Queen), Patrick Godfrey (Belarius), Tim Brierley (Guiderius), Robert Gwilym (Arviragus), Geoffrey Hutchings (Pisanio), Timothy Knightley (Caius Lucius), Hubert Rees (Philario), Griffith Jones (Soothsayer), Timothy Spall (First Lord), David Threlfall (Second Lord), Cathryn Harrison (Helen)

1987 TOP/1988 Pit: Bill Alexander
Alan Watkins, Kit Surrey (design); Clive Morris (lighting); Ilona Sekacz (music)


Harriet Walter (Imogen), Nicholas Farrell (Posthumus), Bruce Alexander (Cloten), Donald Sumpter (Iachimo), David Bradley (Cymbeline), Julie Legrand (The Queen), Paul Webster (Belarius), David O'Hara (Guiderius), Paul Spence (Arviragus), Jim Hooper (Pisanio), Geoffrey Freshwater/Trevor Martin (Caius Lucius)

1989 RST: Bill Alexander
Timothy O'Brien (design); Mark Henderson (lighting); Ilona Sekacz (music)


Naomi Wirthner (Imogen), David O'Hara (Posthumus), David Troughton (Cloten), John Carlisle (Iachimo), Bernard Horsfall (Cymbeline), Linda Spurrier (The Queen), Paul Webster (Belarius), Stephen Simms (Guiderius), Vincent Regan (Arviragus), Rob Heyland (Pisanio), Michael Loughnan (Caius Lucius), Mark Brignal (Philario), Jack Ellis (Cornelius)

1997 RST/1998 Barbican/1998 Washington and New York: Adrian Noble
Anthony Ward (design); Hugh Vanstone (lighting); Stephen Warbeck (music)


Joanne Pearce (Imogen), Damien Lewis (Posthumus), Guy Henry (Cloten), Paul Freeman (Iachimo), Edward Petherbridge (Cymbeline), Joanna McCallum (The Queen), Ian Hogg (Belarius), Jo Stone-Fewings (Guiderius), Richard Cant (Arviragus), Paul Bentall (Pisanio), Patrice Naiambana (Caius Lucius), David Glover (Philario), John Kane (Soothsayer), David Hobbs (Cornelius)

2003 Swan: Dominic Cooke
Rae Smith (design); Chris Davey (lighting); Gary Yershon (music)


Emma Fielding (Imogen), Daniel Evans (Posthumus), Paul Chahidi (Cloten), Anton Lesser (Iachimo), David Horovitch (Cymbeline), Ishia Bennison (The Queen), Christopher Godwin (Belarius), Daniel Hawksford (Guiderius), Simon Trinder (Arviragus), Aaron Neil (Pisanio), Keith Osborn (Frenchman), James Staddon (Philario), Tim Barlow (Soothsayer), Walter Hall (Cornelius), Rory Kinnear (First Lord), Esther Ruth Elliot (Lady)

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