Monday, 5 July 2010
The Winter’s Tale, Told by a Master
One of Shakespeare’s later works, The Winter’s Tale belongs to that dubious class of his plays called ‘romances’, the plots of which contain both tragic and comic elements, and spans an incredible length of time. Thus, like Pericles, The Winter’s Tale is rarely performed. But as any publisher (or librarian) knows, romance sells; there is no reason why directors should shy away from stories such as these.
Fortunately for us, this is something Marti Maraden knows, and her graceful touch shines in this story suitable for any summer’s evening, allowing the fairy-tale like elements of the fable to charm her audiences completely.
The differences between the Kings are made obvious in costume, designed by John Pennoyer; Sicilia is somber, elegant and tailored, the women wear their hair in Grecian fashion, the men wear their hair short and tidy. In Bohemia, although it is described as less opulent than Sicilia, it is wild with colour, hand-crafted textiles and men and women who wear their hair long, or covered in bright (and furry) hats and scarves.
This play is a marvel, the first to which I bought second tickets. Ms. Maraden knows well enough that a fairy tale does not to have the depths of its subtext plumbed for suspect explanations – all it needs is the story, the words of the characters, and an audience willing to have faith in both.
The Winter’s Tale continues in repertory until September 25th at the Tom Patterson Theatre.
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