Spot the Rogue Plot Element (Cymbeline Edition)

I occasionally get asked what is my favorite play. This is, of course, an almost impossible question for me to answer, but I must declare primary allegiance to the history plays, which first ignited my passion for Shakespeare and thus will always occupy the first chapter of my heart (with the exception of Henry VIII, which is, in all honesty, kind of boring.)

However, one play that I am inordinately fond of that often gets overlooked is Cymbeline. If you've never heard of Cymbeline, don't worry. You're not alone. It is one of the most obscure Shakespeare plays and is very rarely performed. This is a pity, as it is, essentially, a "Best Of" compilation of all of Shakespeare's greatest cliches and dramatic tropes. Here, take this quick quiz and see how you do:

There are more ludicrous plot elements that I had to leave out for time's sake, but you get the general idea. Cymbeline is not really a comedy, but is definitely not a tragedy. It's more of a riotous melodrama, and its final scene is probably my favorite single scene in all of Shakespeare. 

No, there aren't any dinosaurs in Cymbeline. However, I am sure that if Shakespeare had known about dinosaurs, he would have figured out how to squeeze in one or two of them.

There also aren't any drug-dealing biker gangs in Cymbeline, but don't tell Ethan Hawke that

One Year Old

First of all, apologies for this comic being a bit late. I had a busy and eventful weekend... but more on that later. First of all, I want to thank you! Yes, YOU. Because you're wonderful. 

As Sondheim said, "A vision's just a vision if it's only in your head. If no one gets to see it, it's as good as dead." So thank you for seeing my comic, and for enjoying it, and for sharing it. I wouldn't be doing this without your readership and your support. I'm looking forward to another year of Shakespearean shenanigans to share with you!

Anyways, the reason this comic is late is that I went up to the Stratford Festival again this weekend to see Christina, the Girl King (the one show I had missed on my last trip). I also ended up seeing Mother Courage and King John again. This was one of the most uniformly excellent Stratford seasons I can remember, and was made even more special by so many of the actors who took the time to chat with my when I stalked them at the stage door. It turns out actors are warm, lovely, and generous human beings. Who knew?

Anyways, here's a snapshot of my Stratford trips. I'm the unkempt-looking one with glasses.

So, along with all of you lovely readers, I want to thank the Stratford Festival for inspiring a love of theatre in me at an early age that had compelled me to devote (almost) every free waking hour I have to drawing theatre-related stick figure comics. You've totally ruined my social life, Stratford. I hope you're happy.

Shakespearean Character Spotlight: Hero

The random number generator has finally hit upon a major character for our third Shakespearean Character Spotlight installment! Today we'll be taking a closer look at Hero:

I'm probably being a bit harsh to poor Hero. She doesn't do anything wrong and weathers her trials and tribulations with good grace and dignity. But really... everybody agrees that the play should have ended like this:


(Historical note: I drew that comic before I started this website. As you can see, I quickly discovered that I could save a lot of time by not fully drawing arms, bodies and clothes. You might call it laziness. I call it streamlining.)

Premature Burial

So, this is a recurring issue in the Shakespearean canon:

I know Elizabethan medicine wasn't exactly state-of-the-art, but I'm constantly appalled at how readily people jump to conclusion of "Oh no, she's dead, let's dump the body somewhere" after someone falls over. Then again, these are the same people who say "You know, it's remarkable how you, a boy, look exactly like a girl, but are, in fact, totally a boy".

What I'm saying is that Shakespeare's characters are criminally unobservant. That's what I'm saying. 

Shakespearean Character Spotlight: Chorus

It's time for the second installment of my very-ongoing Shakespearean Character Spotlight series! Today the random number generator has picked out a Chorus for closer inspection, but it's probably not the Chorus you're thinking of. No, it's not that other one either. It's (drumroll please) the Chorus from Troilus and Cressida!

I want to start a campaign to reintegrate "orgulous" into contemporary speech. Start using it today! I suggest trying out the phrase "Don't be so orgulous, man." 

Greeks Bearing Gifts, part 1

Some days, when I'm feeling particularly unimaginative, I just sit around my office in the library and wait for something ridiculous to happen. And then I take notes. And then I draw it. Hey presto! It's a comic!

To be continued, eventually, once my noble co-worker finishes unboxing all 130 boxes so we have a final tally of how many books we got as opposed to how many tools. 

Stop by on Friday for another in my very-ongoing Shakespearean Character Spotlight series. This week's character is a Chorus... but which one? Ooooo, suspense...