Fiasco Theater’s ‘Cymbeline,’ Round 2

The New York Times, Arts Beat Review

The New York Times, Arts Beat Review

The New York Times, Arts Beat Review

At any given moment dozens of fledgling theater groups are trying to get noticed in New York City. Most fail. But a company called Fiasco (fiascotheater.com) made enough of an impression with its first full-scale production, a rousing “Cymbeline” in September, that it is already bringing it back for an encore.

“We just didn’t want to stop doing it yet,” said Ben Steinfeld, who with Noah Brody organized the company and jointly directed the play.

Everyone in the cast of six (this is Shakespeare as a small itinerant company might have performed it in the author’s time) was still available, so the show will be back at Access Theater in TriBeCa for five more performances Nov. 18 to 22.

The company is made up entirely of alumni of the Brown University/Trinity Rep graduate theater program, and Mr. Brody said it was gratifying to be able to showcase their skills in the big city.

“The training at Brown resonated so strongly with us,” he said, “but people in New York don’t necessarily know what that aesthetic is.”

One hope for the remounting, he and Mr. Steinfeld said, is that representatives from some of the bigger players in classical theater in New York will come check out the production. Fiasco’s ultimate goal, Mr. Steinfeld said, is “to become part of the conversation.”

The success of “Cymbeline” has also caused the men to rethink their long-range plan for the company. They had envisioned a three-year time line to build from small productions like this one to bigger, perhaps self-sustaining ones, but they might accelerate that now.

“This has sort of radically and drastically changed our perspective of what we think we can handle,” Mr. Brody said.

It may have also radically changed the nature of Fiasco’s audience.

Let’s face it: most small theater groups play primarily to friends and family members. But as good notices for “Cymbeline” built up, the cast started noticing something.

“We had that moment where we realized the audience had changed from people who had come to see us to support us to people we didn’t even know,” Mr. Brody said. “It was a joyous moment.”