06 August 2012


Every summer the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company performs a play for free on Boston Common. This summer the show is Coriolanus. Coriolanus is one of Shakespeare's lesser known tragedies and since I hadn't read it (or I confess, even heard of it) I checked it out the library and read it before I went to see the play. I know myself well enough to know that it takes several readings for me to really appreciate what Shakespeare is doing with his plays and so reading it before hand was definitely helpful. So on Friday night I headed down to Boston Common with my orange and brown striped blanket (that I happen to love despite it's ugliness) and enjoyed a nice play. It's a long play and so the other half my party left at intermission in favor of getting some sleep.

The actor playing Coriolanus was a little over the top and I can't say I was too sad when he died (sorry for the spoiler, but it is one of Shakespeare's tragedies...). The on stage fighting was a little out of control, though quite amusing to watch. It leaves you in little doubt as to why Coriolanus can repeatedly beat Aufidius in war, but it does leave you wondering how they're not both dead.

And the costuming for the show was a little bizarre. I never really figured out what decade/century the play was taking place in. It was definitely modern because the soldiers fought with machine guns and wore pretty regular looking fatigues. But, Coriolanus's son spent most of the play wearing a fairly nineteenth century looking outfit, or an outfit (with suspenders) that wouldn't have been out of place on a 10 year old in 1952. The mother wore powersuits. And the other noblewomen wore trophy-wife/high society kinds of dresses. The peasants (for lack of a better word) looked like peasants, mixed with gang members from the 80s, mixed with hard-hit depression era people. Overall, the costuming did make the play kind of timeless, but it was a little distracting.

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