Bill Cain’s “Equivocation” is an excellent choice for the roster at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, which this year features plays that in this reviewer’s not so humble opinion were not the Best of the Bard.
Equivocation is a type of double-speak, which in a roundabout way avoids the crux of the matter while allowing one to seem to be in alignment with the issue. While not completely false, it is also not completely true.
There were, in the time of Shakespeare great religious persecutions, first of the Catholics and then of the Protestants depending upon the religion du jour. Under Bloody Mary the Protestants were persecuted. Under Elizabeth the Catholics. When James I of Scotland took the throne the Catholics were persecuted again.
So for people wishing to be among the Faithful of their chosen religion it was sort of a tap dance on quicksand in order to do so and keep one’s head securely fastened to his shoulders.
If it were not for the lengthy nature of this piece it could be a wonderful contrast to Robert Bolt’s unswervingly ethical piece, “A Man For All Seasons.” Whereas Father Henry Garnett tries to equivocate to remain alive and true to his beliefs, Sir Thomas Moore speaks his Truth plainly in the face of execution.
For those attending this piece it might be well to do a quick refresher course on the politics of the times.
That said, this is a mostly pleasant conundrum to explore on a hot summer night.
Wendy Franz, one of my favorite directors from the Halcyon days of Paragon Theatre did an admirable job with the direction of Bill Cain’s play.
The esteemed actor John Hutton, whose elocution takes one’s breath away, is outstanding in the role of Father Henry Garnett. Other stand-outs are Michael Morgan as a shrewd Shag(speare) who became all things to all men as a playwright and Hunter Ringsmith in a surprisingly energized and humorous take on King James the First. Rodney Liczano gives us a limping and duplicitous Sir Robert Cecil that is most memorable.
The show raises lots of questions about the famous Gunpowder Plot as well as providing us with a well-intentioned if flimsy notion based on scanty evidence about Shakespeare and his relationship to his daughter, Judith.Marlowe's Musings
Location: University Theatre, CU Boulder
For tickets call 303-492-8008 or go online at Coloradoshakes.org