British Black and Asian Shakespeare Performance Database
Cymbeline (1994): Rented Space Theatre Company, Etcetera Theatre, London
CAST INCLUDED: Tom Barnes (Posthumus); Emilio Doorgasingh (Guiderius); Jaron Yaltan (Cymbeline). Role information is taken from the reviews, the rest of the cast is listed in the programme with no indication of what roles they played: Ajay Kumar, Karan Bhagat, Hebe Chitnis, Uzma Hameed, Rohan Kenworthy, Roger Lee, Ishwar Maharaj, Heronimo Sehmi.
This production ran from 27 September - 16 October 1994.
The programme provides the following information about the production concept and its star: "For the first time ever, in Rented Space TC's imaginative new production, the action of this Shakespeare play is transposed from Britain under the Romans to India under the Raj. This gives a new dimension to the play's themes of chastity, identity and race. Key issues of conflict between generations, marriage as feudal alliance and sexual jealousy are explored by the mixed race cast and bring into sharp focus life in modern, multicultural Britain. This production is also distinguished by Jaron Yaltan's return to the stage after more than 20 years. Yaltan, who acted for Sir John Gielgud and with Flora Robson, Ben Kingsley, Claire Bloom, Dirk Bogarde, Gene Kelly and David Niven in the fifties and sixties has come out of retirement to give a superb performance as Cymbeline.
"Cymbeline echoes Othello in its remorseless concern with jealousy and the possessiveness of desire. Director Ajay Chowdhury adds to these similarities by making the play's hero, Posthumus, an English orphan in an Indian state under the imperial rule of the British Raj. This brings a racial edge to Posthumus's marriage to the princess Imogen, while providing a strong cultural context for the breach of honour at the centre of the play. These bright ideas, however, shine only dimly in a lengthy production which is hampered by slow and imprecise acting. Three notable exceptions in the large cast are Emilio Doorgasingh (both as a gossiping fob at Cymbeline's court and as the exiled prince Guiderius), Tom Barnes as Posthumus and Jaron Yaltan as Cymbeline....The veteran Jaron Yaltan (returning to the stage after an absence of 20 years) gives Cymbeline a delicate and ineffectual power and makes more sense of his relationship with his poisonous queen than the script suggests is possible. Chowdhury, meanwhile, directs the cast efficiently on the tiny Etcetera stage and tells the story with neatness and clarity." ~ Tom Morris, Time Out, 5 October 1994
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