This spring, Interlochen Arts Academy is staging one of Shakespeare’s lost plays.
The earliest record of Cardenio is a reference to a 1613 play by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher called Cardenna, which was performed at the court of James I. For a century, the play was “lost” until the manuscript was discovered by Lewis Theobald. Theobald then adapted the original manuscript into a new play, Double Falsehood. While only the adapted version of the play survives, many scholars and analysts agree that it contains many passages and scenes from the original version by Shakespeare and Fletcher.
In 2010, Double Falsehood was further revised by Gregory Doran, the current Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Doran combined his knowledge of Shakespearean literature with Theobald’s play to create a new work under the original title, Cardenio. Doran's version of the play, which is based upon an episode in the novel Don Quixote, draws upon a team of writers including Cervantes, Shakespeare, Fletcher and Theobald.
"Producing Cardenio at Interlochen has been on my directing agenda since first hearing of Gregory Doran's popular Royal Shakespeare Company production while visiting London during my sabbatical from Interlochen in 2012,” said director David Montee. “A directing career generally involves either staging original plays or reviving successful titles that have become audience favorites or classics. With Cardenio, we have a combination of the two: a relatively unknown and unproven play co-written by the greatest playwright in the history of English drama. I think it strikes just the right combination of drama, romance and comedy."
The play tells the tale of Cardenio, a young man madly in love with his upper-class neighbor, Luscinda. When Cardenio seeks the aid of his friend, the Duke’s son Don Fernando, in winning Luscinda’s hand in marriage, Fernando seeks to claim Luscinda for himself, breaking his own betrothal pledge to the unfortunate Dorotea.
Just weeks into the rehearsal process, the play is already beginning to take shape. The cast are rehearsing on the nearly completed set in Harvey Theatre, and several actors are performing off-book. Senior Jeremy Gill leads the cast as the title role.
"My Interlochen student cast is wonderful; I couldn't be more pleased,” Montee said. “They've plunged into the exploration of this piece with excitement and humor. The Interlochen Presentations design team is providing us with great scenic, costume, lighting and sound designs as well. It promises to be a very entertaining couple of hours in the theatre. I think audiences will be delighted at how well it plays."
Cardenio will open on April 21 and run through April 23. Before the April 22 performance, the Interlochen College of Creative Arts will host a symposium about the authorship debate surrounding the play.