Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline

January 31 — April 8, 2012
In the Ellyn Bye Studio

By William Shakespeare
A new adaptation by Chris Coleman

Based on legends about early Celtic kings, Cymbeline is one of Shakespeare’s most fantastical creations—familiar Shakespearean themes of jealousy and innocence wronged are joined by a piano-playing wit who becomes our guide through an ancient landscape. A lovely princess, an evil queen, a misguided king and a thoroughly rotten clown people this fairy tale-like story of life, and love, renewed.

One of Shakespeare’s charming romances, this production of Cymbeline marks two firsts—our first production of the Bard in the Ellyn Bye Studio, and the first production of this fresh adaptation by Artistic Director Chris Coleman.

Performance times:
Tuesday - Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m
Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
Thursday matinees at noon

A full list of performances and dates will appear when you enter the ticketing section of the website.

Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline runs approximately two hours and 30 minutes with one intermission.

View the cast and creative team bios

View the playbill for Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline

Learn more about accessibility options at PCS

Background information and a synopsis of Cymbeline

Portland Center Stage’s production is part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, a national program of the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest.

Performance Times

Evenings: Tuesday - Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
Matinees: Saturday and Sundays at 2 p.m.,
Thursdays at noon

*Note: These are general performance times. Certain productions may have exceptions. View the season calendar for more information.

This show's run time will be posted below the synopsis at left near the date of the first performance.

Production blog

Cymbeline’s “Rapid-Fire Backstage Ninjas”

Cymbeline’s “Rapid-Fire Backstage Ninjas”

30 March 2012 & Posted by Kinsley Suer

Kailyn McCord is the production assistant for Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline. In this blog post she reflects on her time with the show, as well as the amazing cast and backstage crew who have made it all possible.


25 Seconds or Less

28 March 2012 & Posted by Kinsley Suer

In Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline, three dressers help six actors complete more than 50 costume changes for every performance. Nine of these changes must be completed in less than 25 seconds! It sounds nearly impossible, but somehow our amazing team of dressers manages to pull it off flawlessly for every single show. How do they do it? To find out, we asked Wig Mistress Danna Rosedahl and Wardrobe Supervisor Bonnie Henderson-Winnie, two of the dressers in Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline.


Formative Stages: Cymbeline Post-Show Discussion on April 8

21 March 2012 & Posted by Sarah Mitchell

Portland Center Stage and the Oregon Psychoanalytic series are offering a post-show discussion around the themes and issues presented in Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline. Join us on Sunday, April 8 following the 2 p.m. matinee performance!



Art and photos for Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline. View on Flickr »

Trailer for Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline. View on Vimeo »

The actors of Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline talk about a bit about themselves and their roles in the play. View on Vimeo »

Reviews and Features

Katie | Notes from a Shakespeare Nerd [Review 20 Mar 2012]

I will admit to being extremely skeptical of Portland Center Stage’s Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline. First of all, anything that’s an “adaptation” puts me a little on edge; those tend to be the ones where the people with strange agendas, incomprehensible “concepts” and artsy ambitions crop up. And then, when I got there and realized that it was going to be done with a grand total of six actors – one of them being the piano-playing storyteller – I was even more concerned. On top of all that, when I saw that the part of the evil stepmother Queen was to be played by a guy, I started sharpening my wit and my tongue in preparation for tearing the whole production apart.

I was wrong. Utterly, completely and totally wrong. The entire production was brilliant, and I loved every moment of it.

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Richard Wattenberg | The Oregonian [Review 15 Feb 2012]

“Cymbeline” isn’t one of Shakespeare’s most popular works, but this rather unwieldy fun-filled romance, history, fairy tale of a play does seem to be having a kind of renaissance in the Northwest.

Having been performed last spring at Northwest Classical Theatre Company and slated for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s 2013 season, it is now being lovingly revisited by Portland Center Stage in a form that is both accessible and entertaining.

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Penelope Bass | Willamette Week [Review 15 Feb 2012]

It just wouldn’t be Shakespeare without a little sexual subterfuge. Though it’s one of his lesser-known tales, Cymbeline employs many of the playwright’s favorite plot devices—mistaken identity, forbidden love, girls disguised as boys, scheming queens, betrayal, beheadings, etc.

But Portland Center Stage’s new production, Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline, presents a show stripped down to its barest elements with a cast of only six actors performing on the sparsest of sets. In addition to the minimalism, director Chris Coleman’s adaptation includes a third-party narrator on the piano (Michael G. Keck). A congenial fellow reminiscent of Sam in Casablanca, the narrator presents Cymbeline through his own eyes, serving both to clarify the more complex scenes and offer his interpretation of the story’s theme of love betrayed.

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Alison Hallett | The Portland Mercury [Review 09 Feb 2012]

Cymbeline is a lesser-known Shakespeare play that nonetheless offers plenty of familiar Shakespearian tropes: mistaken identity, star-crossed love, and that one really tricky drug that makes people think you’re dead when you’re not.

Portland Center Stage does something interesting here: Rather than changing the setting of the play (as happens too often when it’s determined Shakespeare needs to be “freshened up”), PCS changes the context by asking us to watch the play through the eyes of someone else. Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline is presented with sideline commentary and music from a piano player (Michael Keck) who investigates the meaning of the show, while also providing helpful bits of context about who’s mad at whom for being a Roman.

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Barry Johnson | Oregon ArtsWatch [Review 06 Feb 2012]

After you see “Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline” at Portland Center Stage (and why wouldn’t you, if you have the means?), don’t bother pulling down that well-thumbed edition of The Oxford Shakespeare from the shelves to find out whether the original has a piano player in it. I already looked. It doesn’t.

But maybe it should. A narrator to keep all of the weird plot twists and characters straight isn’t a bad idea at all, and Chris Coleman’s old piano man, played by Michael G. Keck in this production, comes in handy when we start to lose track of the particulars and the point. Now, I might wish he was playing honky-tonk boogie woogie and blues instead of the melancholy chords he settled upon, but the guidance was appreciated.

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