Read equivocation by Bill Cain Online


The official script for the 2009 world premier production at the Angus Bowmer Theater. King James commissions Shakespeare to write a play about the Gunpowder Plot....

Title : equivocation
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 6894746
Format Type : Spiral-bound
Number of Pages : 81 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

equivocation Reviews

  • bookinglibrarian
    2019-02-24 14:52

    We saw this incredible play at its world premier at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland this summer, then saw it two more times (with the same cast & production) during its recent run at Seattle Repertory Theatre. Cain's drama overflows with intrigue and politics, while exploring the meaning of friends, family and faith in the tumultuous period following the Gunpowder Plot, set in the imagined theatrical life of Shagspeare's company at The Globe. You will not see (or read) a more thoughtful, well-written or inspiring play.

  • Phillip
    2019-02-20 20:30

    This is an amazing example of historiographic metatheatre--a type of postmodern, self-aware theatre that understands and presents the construction of histories as a self-aware narrative act. Here we have Robert Cecil commissioning a play from William Shagspeare (one of the perhaps dozen different spellings of his name that Shakespeare used or that were printed during his lifetime) to tell the official version of the Gunpowder Plot, but Shag finds it impossible to tell the official version, and he must navigate murky waters of truth, lies, equivocation--a complex process expounded upon by Henry Garnet, who is in the play, which involves telling the truth in response to the underlying anxiety of a question without necessarily truthfully answering the question that was overtly asked. So, the wager of this play is that there are different ways to tell the truth and different ways to lie, and that what appears on the surface to be a lie can in fact be a profound truth which would otherwise be unspeakable without the context of the surface lie.At the same time, there is a fundamental equivocation to the play as a whole, because it is overtly about political intrigue, torture, power, and religious oppression. But in a deeper and more true way, this is a play about the loss of a daughter and the desperate need to reconnect with her--much like the bulk of Shakespeare's late plays. Judith is a kind of shadowy presence throughout much of this play, showing up to look after Shag's material needs and the give him the minor--though unappreciated--pushes in the right direction that he frequently needs. But she is peripheral throughout much of the play. It is only at the ending--which I won't spoil--that it becomes clear how much the play was actually about the fractured relationship between the father and the daughter, and the various relationships and concerns about betrayal, disunity, and the hope of uniting a fragmented nation are all equivocations for the underlying anxiety about Shaq's relationship with Judith.

  • Amanda
    2019-03-06 15:37

    Love love love this play! So smart and funny and witty!

  • Emily
    2019-03-10 18:32

    I like it a lot, but overall I think it reads a bit like an under-edited draft. It doesn't seem to have been properly workshopped. Some scenes drag on far longer than they need to. There are moments of attempted comic relief where the serious tone of the scene absolutely does not call to be interrupted. Certain ideas simply don't work but are beaten into the ground while other interesting ones are left by the wayside.The play also occasionally suffers from its own attempts to be lofty (read: a little pretentious). It gets just a trifle too high-and-mighty at times without enough real heft to support itself. This problem is exacerbated by the fact the playwright seems to think his audiences are idiots, and so has made his main character repeatedly either ask painfully obvious questions for them or restate points ad nauseum for their benefit. Then...there's Judith, our only female character in the play. While I like Judith, I can't help but feel she's basically unnecessary to the story and being used more as a plot-device than a character; she's just there so we'll feel worse for Shag and to add an odd, short, needless romance device with Sharpe (as if he doesn't have enough going on). But perhaps she plays better than she reads.

  • itpdx
    2019-02-24 13:46

    This is the script for a play that was premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival this spring. I saw the play in September and picked up a copy of the script from the Guild shop. I wanted to read it because there is so much to think about in the play. The OSF production is wonderful and I am glad I saw it before attempting the script because reading the script could be confusing if I didn't have the characters firmly in mind. The play has six characters, four play multiple parts and having seen the actors change parts during a scene made it easier to understand the script.The plot of the play is that King James's henchman (Robert Cecil) commissions Shakespeare to write a play about the Gunpowder Plot. This is a meaty play with a lot to think about--family, artistic collaboration, torture, religion, politics, the truth... It was great fun to read the playwright's stage directions to see what came from the director and actors and what had been called out in the script.

  • Jan
    2019-03-08 14:24

    Brilliant play. I saw it in Ashland, Oregon, in the summer of 2010, I believe. It revolved around the Gunpowder Plot in England--Guy Fawkes's attempt to blow of Parliament, if I am remembering correctly. In advance of reading the play and attending the performance, I read Antonia Fraser's "Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot," Anchor Books, 1996. POWERFUL exploration of conscience, responsibility, choices, and conflicting moral obligations (the very stuff of life).

  • Andrea Lakly
    2019-03-16 16:39

    This is a very fun, if totally improbable, play about the art of juxtaposition -- the seeming driving concern of most of Shakespeare's creative and personal life. It also mixes in the Gunpowder plot and Shakespeare's daughter Judith. I don't know if it all works out, but it's a fun ride. A really good onstage performance could easily make it four stars! (I don't have much vision and am kinda bad a reading plays . . .)

  • G. Derek Adams
    2019-02-24 17:27

    Really fucking good play. Technically demanding -- acting and effects. The worst kind of technique, where a lot of craft is required to make it look effortless and easy. Characters play multiple roles, switching parts through pure acumen. Fascinating intellectually and emotionally. A nodding familiarity with Shakespeare's plays recommended, but not required.

  • Kevin
    2019-03-01 21:45

    I bought this script when I had a chance to view the show at Arena Stage last year. Going through the story again, it's still just as fun. Cain's story swerves and jumps with dexterity, and shifts the ending several times along the way. It's a fun play with emotional and intellectual depth, while still presenting the occasional Easter egg for Shakespeare-philes.

  • Joyful
    2019-02-23 15:54

    This is a play commisioned specifically for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I was lucky enough to see it (beautifully) performed alongside its intended companion Macbeth. It contains a lot of history about the Gunpowder Plot and some details about William Shakespeare the man. Wonderfully written - great for Shakespeare lovers!

  • Colleen
    2019-02-23 16:43

    What an incredible play! I saw the original production at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2009, and purchased the script at that time. That production has stayed with me and I count it as one of the best pieces of theatre I have ever experienced. I only read the play for the first time now and the writing is so good.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-08 16:43

    The contents of this play are eerily timely during out current political season. The contrast between the theatricality of art and politics. Does it do more harm than good? Or vice versa? Beautifully written piece of theatre... I wish I had seen this when it played nearby two years ago.

  • Letitia
    2019-02-28 16:39

    Saw this with the original cast at Seattle Repertory. Beautiful! Clever! At moments difficult to follow with actors playing so many different roles, but the depth and wit of the script are exceptional.

  • Ann
    2019-03-21 16:43

    The dedication was beautiful and heartfelt. There were moments throughout that felt sincere and similarly inspired, however, overall the play felt like it was trying too hard to be important. I missed a sense of honesty, which was alluded to here and there throughout the work.

  • Miriam
    2019-02-20 20:52

    I started laughing on page one, continued through two viewings, and haven't stopped yet. An exploration of the Powder Plot (Guy Fawkes), Hamlet, Macbeth, and martyrdom, there's a lot packed into a short space.

  • Kayla
    2019-03-14 18:52

    Amazing play about the writing of Macbeth and how it relates to the Gunpowder Plot. It's even more amazing live on stage!

  • Debs
    2019-03-11 21:39

    Loved it when I saw the play performed at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2009, loved it again reading it. There is a great deal in these 80 pages, and I will be rereading it in the future.

  • Emily
    2019-02-27 14:46

    I definitely am anxious to see this staged by Virginia Rep. I think I'll have a better understanding of my feelings about the play then. But I did love the plot. I struggled to put it down.