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THE DUENNA

CYMBELINE

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by George Rylands
Ian McKellen in the role of Posthumus
Cambridge Arts Theatre
8 March 1960 - 12 March 1960

Words from Ian McKellen

Dadie Rylands directed the verse rather than the play. In rehearsals at the Arts Theatre, he would lean against the stage, his back to the actors, catching the light on his tiny New Temple edition of "Cymbeline". Peering at the text (too vain for glasses) he drew attention to the punctuation, the line endings, the antithesis, advised where to breathe and how to depend on Shakespeare's language. The staging was stagey and so was my acting. I hated playing Posthumus Leonatus, particularly in his tirade against women when he thinks his sweetheart has been false. Margaret Drabble as Imogen was again believable and deft in a part that I'd thought Peggy Ashcroft had made her own at Stratford-upon-Avon.

Cloten was David Rowe-Beddoe (now Lord) a Welshman who longed to become an actor like the rest of us: but big business beckoned. He invented an exclusive informal club of Great Little Troupers — young Trevor Nunn (later director of "Cats", The RSC, "Les Miserables" and the National Theatre) was admitted to membership and like the rest of us was given a home-made medal. — Ian McKellen, December 2006