Season 65

The Winter's Tale

By William Shakespeare
18 - 20 April, 2013

"A sad tale's best for winter." Mamillius whispers in Hermione's ear

"Cease! No more." Leontes insists that Hermione is an adultress.

"What has here? Ballads?" Autolycus shows his wares to Mopsa, Dorcas & the Shepherd's son

"Do not draw the curtain." The statue of Hermione is revealed

Synopsis

Winter, irrational jealousy, an abandoned baby, a Delphic oracle, a trial and sudden death followed by Spring, a love story, a sheep shearing festival, an elopement, a reunion and a miracle.

Leontes, king of Sicilia, accuses his pregnant queen, Hermione, of infidelity with his old friend, Polixenes, king of Bohemia. Polixenes flees, Hermione is imprisoned and when the baby is born, Leontes orders that his daughter be taken and abandoned. His cruel behaviour results in his son’s death and Hermione’s collapse. Believing his wife, son and baby daughter are all dead, Leontes repents. Meanwhile the baby girl survives, is brought up by shepherds in Bohemia and sixteen years later meets Florizel, the son of Polixenes. Love triumphs, bringing forgiveness and regeneration.


Cast

CLOWNS
HOLLY PATRICK
DAN LANE
ALYSSA KEENE
MOLLY INGHAM
JOSH LONGBOTTOM
BEN PEARSON
SICILIA
LEONTES, King of Sicilia
JOSLAN SCHEREWODE
HERMIONE, his wife
ELEANOR EDWARDES
MAMILLIUS, their son
ISAAC HARRISON
PERDITA, their daughter
NATASHA FOSTER
CAMILLO, a nobleman
ELLIOTT MATTHEWS
ANTIGONUS, a nobleman
ELLIE BUCHANAN
PAULINA, his wife
MARISA DOLAN
CLEOMINES, a nobleman
KATHARINE BRINKWORTH
DION, a nobleman
MARTHA WILSON
EMILIA
ROSANNA LOACH
Other LADIES of the Court
ALICE ROBERTS
SOPHIE MILLER
ROSALEEN MONTAGUE-VAUGHAN
CHLOE MATHER
HANNAH WILKINSON
ALICE MAYNARD
SOPHIE TANKARD
MARINER
STEVEN KEOGH
Other LORDS
CHRISTIAN BEAUMONT
JAMES HUNTINGTON
OFFICERS
SAMUEL BROWN
JACOB LEEMING
GUARD
ELLIOT MATHER
GAOLER
MILLIE JAKOB-HALL
NURSEMAID
MAYA GEORGE
SERVANT
SAMUEL PERKINS
JEALOUSY
DAISY BENSON
ELIZABETH JONES
BOHEMIA
POLIXENES, King of Bohemia
JACK SMIDDY
FLORIZEL, his son
OLIVER RIBCHESTER
ARCHIDAMUS, noblewoman
ROISIN ELLIS
SHEPHERD
MATTHEW PERKINS
SHEPHERD'S Son
JUDE CONNOLLY
AUTLYCUS
PETER HARDY
MOPSA
STEPHANIE LYMAN
DORCAS
MILLIE SCHEREWODE
SHEPHERD’S SERVANT
JACOB LEEMING
DIRECTOR
ROSEMARY GRAINGER


Director's Notes

From the first I realised that if Kaleidoscope was to perform “The Winter’s Tale”, it was important to edit the play. I was determined to keep the original language, but I knew that I needed to cut some of the speeches in order to make the script more manageable for those less familiar with Shakespeare, including some of the cast. Obviously the cuts speed up the action at times and so for instance the rapid development of Leontes’ irrational jealousy is accentuated. I hope that those who know the play well will not feel that I have ruined their enjoyment by omitting their favourite lines. The other factor in the editing was the need to involve a very large cast. I have done this in three ways: two actors personify Leontes’ jealousy, many more people share the lines given to Lords, Ladies and Servants and I have extended Shakespeare’s Chorus, TIME, by introducing the Clowns. I chose the 1950s and 60s as the time settings for the play because I wanted to use two periods divided by about sixteen years, where the earlier period conjured up a more formal time, rooted in the past, while the later period suggested freedom and a “New Age”. My choice is not original but I think it works. Finally the locations. As in many of Shakespeare’s plays which are apparently set in foreign countries, much of the action could really be taking place in England. We have therefore made no attempt to suggest either Sicily or Bohemia but simply two countries separated by sea. There are also a number of inconsistencies and anachronisms, Apollo’s Oracle being one of them. Such things certainly didn’t worry Shakespeare’s audiences; I hope they won’t worry you either.

In choosing plays for Kaleidoscope we have always tried to find something that was different from what we had done before and that was demanding but accessible. This production has certainly proved demanding, but we have also had a great deal of fun with the lighter sections and the music, while also enjoying the opportunity to attempt the more dramatic scenes. The Cast has worked very hard and has been wonderfully supported by all the back-stage teams. I would like to thank them all and to hope you enjoy the production.

THE WINTER’S TALE

The Winter’s Tale, written towards the end of Shakespeare’s career, is usually grouped with Cymbeline and The Tempest. Sometimes referred to as “problem plays”, they do not fit happily into the groups which usually categorise Shakespeare’s plays: Comedies, Tragedies and Histories. Sometimes they are referred to as Romances or Tragi-comedies and certainly The Winter’s Tale combines Tragedy and Comedy. The transition is quite abrupt and there is little blending; the two halves of the play sharply juxtapose the two genres. The themes form the links. We are reminded of the healing power of “Time”, that grieving and penance are redeemed by forgiveness and love and that age can be regenerated by youth. This is not the place however for a long critical essay. Suffice it to say that essentially the play is a story and as such combines elements of the traditional Fairy Tale.

Rosemary Grainger

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