Theatre department Associate Teaching Professor Jesse Hinson takes to the Boston Common this summer along with alumnus Michael Underhill ‘09 in Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s Cymbeline, running July 17 through August 4. The two actors previously worked together this past Spring in Nora Theater Company’s Photograph 51.
Now entering its 24th season, CSC’s Free Shakespeare on the Common has become an annual Boston tradition, modeled along the lines of “Shakespeare in the Park” in Central Park and the many other free outdoor summer Shakespeare events throughout the city. Each summer CSC welcomes approximately 50,000 people to shows on the Boston Common, and over the past 24 years CSC has performed for over 1.4 million audience members.
A company member of Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Hinson is relishing this role for a few different reasons: “Cymbeline is my favorite of Shakespeare’s plays because it has so many memorable characters and is epically sprawling. He wrote the play toward the end of his career and it feels a little like a greatest hits album weaving together many of his storylines and playing off of iconic characters from his previous works. Playing the dastardly Iachimo is nothing short of a dream role for me. I was in a production of Cymbeline at Georgia Shakespeare and remember being so envious of the actor playing that role because it was evident he was having such a blast every night. I don’t get cast as the bad guy too often, so now that it’s my turn, I’m having the time of my life being just as devilish out on the common.”
Underhill is also thrilled to return to the Common with CSC for the fifth time: “My first theatrical endeavor upon graduating was the CSC Summer Apprenticeship. It was there that I fell in love with the company’s mission of providing free Shakespeare to thousands of Bostonians a night every summer. Witnessing the impact of individuals, families and audience members of all backgrounds gathered to take in the bard together instilled in me a personal mission as an artist. It reinforced for me that theatre, the arts, and culture are a right, and not a privilege.”
Hinson is happy to share the stage again with Underhill: “Mike is a delight to watch on stage every night. He may be one of the most gifted physical actors I have ever worked with. As dynamic as he is on stage, he is an even better castmate and friend. He truly represents the values of the Department of Theatre in both how rigorous he is with his artistry and in the generous way he treats others.”
Cymbeline runs Tuesday–Saturday at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm (off Mondays). Matinee performance on Saturday, August 3 at 3pm. All performances are FREE and open to the public. More information can be found here.
“This is a fairly unknown play in the canon,” Underhill posited, “but it is delightfully played out by a terrific ensemble of characters, and I hope to see Husky students, faculty, staff and alumni out in full force in the audience this summer!”