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Imelda, Her Shoes and Shakespeare

August 15, 1993|EMILY ADAMS

Have you ever gone shopping for shoes--a new pair of wingtips or some strappy little sandals--and found yourself thinking of Imelda Marcos?

The former First Lady of the Philippines might want to be remembered as a leader of her people, but let's face it, what we think of is her shoes. Rows and rows of pumps, sandals, platforms and sneakers discovered in her closet when her husband, Ferdinand, was deposed.

Cynthia Galles, artistic director of the Found Theater in Long Beach, took the whole connection one frightening step further recently. She added Shakespeare. Hamlet, specifically.

Imelda Marcos. Shoes. Shakespeare.

Put them all together and you've got a new piece of political satire and high camp called "Imelda's Really Big Shoe," presented by Found Theater.

OK. You're probably thinking, who in heaven's name wants to see Imelda Marcos doing Hamlet? According to Galles, who cooked up this whole idea with members of her company, it is Marcos herself that would like to see Marcos doing Hamlet.

So this fictional Marcos takes an ersatz production of Hamlet on the road.

"Imelda sees an absolute parallel between her tragedy and Hamlet's," Galles said. "And Corazon Aquino, of course, is Claudius."

If this were played straight, that would make Aquino the King of Denmark and Marcos her hapless nephew, Hamlet, whose path to the throne was derailed by Aquino--who killed Marcos' father and married her mother.

Obviously, this won't do. Marcos changes the plot a bit, adds a little singing and dancing to spice things up and cuts the Shakespearean masterpiece down to include only the bits she likes.

And this, said Galles, is vintage Imelda.

Using four characters--Imelda plus three harried actors--Galles reveals the greed, lies, subterfuge and ego often found in the rulers and elections of any country.

Besides, Galles got to have lots of fun with footwear in this show. She brings Marcos out in the first scene in a little pair of gold thongs. By the end, she's wearing a 2 1/2-foot-high pair of hot pink platforms. These are shoes the size of doghouses, Galles said.

Shoes. Shakespeare. Imelda Marcos. If this sounds like fun, get you to the Found Theater, 251 E. 7th St. in Long Beach any Friday or Saturday night through Aug. 28. The show start at 8:30 p.m.; tickets are $10. The house only has 40 seats, so you might want to call first. (310) 433-3363.

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