Cardenio: Stephen Greenblatt and Charles L. Mee's Reimagining of Lost Shakespeare Play
The last date listed for Cardenio was Sunday, Jun. 8, 2008 / 2:00pm.
by Stephen Greenblatt and Charles L. Mee
directed by Les Waters
Shakespeare scholar Stephen Greenblatt and playwright Charles Mee have joined forces to produce a midsummer comedy of love based on Cardenio, a play by Shakespeare that was lost soon after its first performance. Greenblatt and Mee have woven a contemporary version of the story, now set at a wedding party on the terrace of a villa in the Umbrian hills.
Shakespeare’s fingerprints are all over this sparkling new version, from the crisscrossing of suspicious lovers to a cunning Iago-like meddler, from soliloquies (re-imagined as wedding toasts) to overheard conversations, from the dream of passion to the pleasures of music and dance.
Stephen Greenblatt is one of this country’s leading Shakespeare scholars, author of Will in the World and a professor at Harvard. Charles Mee is well known to A.R.T. audiences for his ingenious plays and adaptations, including Full Circle, Snow in June, and bobrauschenbergamerica.
For their wedding, Anselmo and Camila retreat with their closest friends to a villa in Umbria. Between the ceremony and the celebration, Anselmo begs Will, his best man, to flirt with his new wife to test her faithfulness. While Will struggles between appeasing his friend and probing his own feelings for Camila, Anselmo’s parents, both aging actors, crash the party. They bring with them two surprises – a lost play by Shakespeare and Anselmo’s ravishing former classmate, Susana, to star in the play.
Using Shakespeare’s comedies as inspiration, Stephen Greenblatt and Charles Mee pitch us into a world where love is easy to find but hard to attain, where maids double as opera divas, and where handymen build great Shakespearian performances. This midsummer comedy explores the surprising ways people find love amidst chaos.