DAILY CAMERA: Review: ‘Equivocation’ offers insight into Shakespeare’s art
Play shows falsehoods are in the eye of the beholder
(Above, left to right: John Hutton, Michael Morgan and Drew Horwitz in “Equivocation.” Photo by Jennifer M Koskinen.)
The line between lies and the truth is easily blurred. An extensive vocabulary and a deft use of syntax can muddy perception and call into question the very meaning of honesty.
The artful use of language to masterfully manipulate perception is nothing new — politicians, playwrights and poets have been doing it for centuries. That storied tradition of hedging is at the center of “Equivocation,” playwright Bill Cain’s historical drama currently running as part of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival‘s 2016 season.
The production is the lone non-Shakespearean entry in the festival’s summer lineup, but its content doesn’t veer far from the heart of the CSF’s artistic identity. Indeed, the show places larger ideas of William Shakespeare’s work and life in a proper context, all while investigating the meaning of its titular concept, the use of equivocation to steer ideas of truth, beauty and morality.
Under the sharp direction of Wendy Franz, Cain’s ambitious drama stands as an engrossing complement to a CSF season that features some of Shakespeare’s lesser-known masterpieces. The production offers to the audience insights into the festival’s namesake, as well as the history and politics that helped forge Shakespeare’s art.
Cain makes these connections by featuring the Bard of Avon as the thinly veiled main character of this whimsical take on history, artistry and the power of language in Jacobean England. Here, he’s known as William Shagspeare — “Shag” for short — a crotchety, uncompromising playwright working under the direction of James I, the newly crowned King of England.