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Imagining Cymbeline with Shakespeare Students at Loyola University New Orleans

By Cymbeline Anthropocene on Feb 23, 2021 at 07:17 PM in Other Cymbelines

In Fall 2020, Dr. Hillary Eklund taught a first-year seminar, “Shakespeare’s Worlds” for the Honors Program at Loyola University New Orleans @Loyola_NOLA. In this project-based course, students explored the various “worlds” in which Shakespeare lived and worked, as well as the scholarly and artistic contexts where we encounter his work today. For their final projects, students took creative approaches to making meaning with Shakespeare’s texts. These projects included animated scenes, original scores, adaptations, and even a zine inspired by the Cymbel(z)ine compiled by Evelyn O'Malley and her students at Exeter, posted on this blog in July 2020. 

Today, we are pleased to feature two of the final projects by Dr. Eklund's students: a visual rendering of Innogen as a woman king, and a playlist of songs corresponding to some of the central characters' defining moments. 
Imagining Cymbeline with New Orleans Shakespeare Students
In a pop art painting of an imagined future for Innogen, artist Myranda Cook depicts the princess as a woman king, a role befitting the complexity and contradictions of her character. Writes Cook in her artist statement: "She exists as she is: a beautiful princess, faithful to her country and her love, but is rebellious and unafraid to sacrifice her outward womanhood to seek the ending she deserves. If she is all of these things, and is a strong woman above all, who's to say she couldn’t become something more than a princess? She could be a king. Here, in my depiction, she is."
In another project, Emma Kay Staunton represents the characters of Cymbeline through pop songs that reflect their emotional landscapes; the full playlist available for listening on Spotify or in the player below.

A bittersweet love ballad by Jim Croce corresponds to Act 1 scene 1, in which "the ebb and flow of the guitar part mimics how the couple would interact during this scene, as well as the rise and fall of their emotions in the scene when being forced to part," writes Staunton. A cool and biting Billie Eilish song underscores Innogen's disregard for Iachimo's advances, with "the power and “strutting” style of beat" suggesting her independence, and her annoyance with Iachimo's assumptions about her.

For his part, Iachimo's stalking of Innogen in Act 2 scene 2 is musically represented by "Every Breath You Take" by The Police, a song that illustrates his dangerous entitlement to the princess' body, and to the bodies of women more generally. Posthumus's rage throughout the play is scored by a theatrical rendition of Alanis Morisette's "You Oughta Know," as sung by Lauren Patten. Songs by Alicia Keys and Khalid, Sam Smith, and Stevie Wonder complete this multi-genre playlist, cleverly gesturing at the genre-bending plots of Cymbeline.

Listen to the playlist above, and imagine Innogen's kingly future in the Shakespeare worlds these students have created. To share your thoughts about Myranda's and Emma Kay's projects, tweet us at @ecocymbeline or use the hashtag #cymbelineanthropocene