The student weekly of St. Olaf | Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | Subscribe
ISSUE 117 VOL 11 PUBLISHED 2/27/2004

Tale told well

By Emmy Kegler
Contributing Writer

Friday, February 27, 2004

What do you get when you combine "Othello," Simon and Garfunkel, and wild sheep shearing? You get a stunning run of Shakespeares "The Winters Tale," directed by Artist in Residence Dona Werner Freeman and the most recent production to come out of the theatre department.

This lesser-known play was written during Shakespeares later years, when the bard was experimenting with romances or "tragicomidies." Evil and death play great roles in these later works, but the endings are always happy. "The Winters Tale" was no exception: the first act was laden with tragedy, weaving the story of a king inflamed by jealousy, a queen wrongly accused, and a succession of innocent deaths that wracked the stage with pain.

With the regal Maren Bush '04 as Queen Hermione and Christopher Proczko '04 as the volatile King Leontes of Sicilia, the emotional power of this act was unquestionable.

The second act was more lighthearted, filled with sheep shearing and laughter. In this act, the queens daughter Perdita, considered a bastard by King Leontes and ordered away from Sicilia, has grown up a lovely shepherds daughter in Bohemia and has captured the heart of the charming Prince Florizel. Florizel is the son of King Polixenes, who was believed by Leontes to have cuckolded Hermione. After a bit of wild dancing, ballads, thievery, and disguises, the couple is brought together and the two kings are reunited. Shakespeare mingles magic with his joy, and the queen is resurrected from stone to bless her daughter, embrace her son-in-law, and again take the hand of her beloved king.

It would be impossible to chronicle precisely how well this production was performed; suffice it to say that from the majestic Time (Rudi Utter 04) to the delightfully flirtatious Mopsa and Dorcas (Laura Holway '04 and Megan Hughes '06), this cast was flawless. They shifted easily from passion to playfulness, from the solemnity of Sicilia to the bliss of Bohemia, led happily by Times agile chorus (Colin Christie '07, Bret Hemmerlin '06, Stephanie Polt '06, and Kathryn Skare '06).

In a time when Shakespeare is constantly updated, reset and overperformed, this production was a perfect mixture of tradition and innovation. Shakespearean meter, clowns and tragedy danced hand in hand with tie-dyed blankets, Bjork, and a memorable dance sequence. The performance was a pleasure for Shakespeare scholars and common folk alike, with the intense emotions and powerful themes unmarred by a contemporary setting. The stage and costumes were art themselves, reflecting the general level of skill that went into the play.

Shakespeare might have lost some dramatic power by setting the second-act reconciliation offstage and by glossing over the details of the queens resurrection. But there is no question that cast, stage, and direction fit together perfectly to make The Winters Tale a pure delight.

Printer Friendly version of this page Printer friendly version | E-mail a Copy of the Article to a Friend Email this | Write the editors | More articles by Emmy Kegler

Related Links

More Stories

Page Load: 31 milliseconds