Sunday, 28 August 2016

Play review: The Winter's Tale

We saw the Cambridge Shakespseare festival's production in the grounds of Robinson. It rained while we were picnicing beforehand but was fine for the play. We? M, E and I. Robinson is quite a small venue - there were perhaps 8 rows of seats of 15 each. The grounds are surprisingly pleasant (for a red brick college, but actually the red bricks are well done). There's a bridge over the lily pond you can just see over the back of the stage; the bear chases Antigonus over it.

For reference, the words. Though ours was cut: Mamillius for example is not seen; nor is the Shepherd's son; not Autolycus. Unfortunately the cast list doesn't seem to be available which is a bit rubbish of them; the closest I can find is a casting site which lists some of them. They were all good; I was particularly impressed by Polixenes who managed his humour deftly - just enough connivance with the audience to make his implausible disguise when visiting the Shepherd's seem entirely natural and funny.

The story is, as with so many in Shakespeare, really rather weird. I think I've realised - as with ?King Lear? - that it is not so much implausible as compressed; you have to assume that the jealousy matures over time rather than being sudden as in the play.

The statue-coming-to-life at the end is also hard to understand. Perhaps it is meant to be ambiguous. Or perhaps he forgot to revise the early scenes. As wiki points out, the "obvious" interpretation of her being hidden away for 16 years isn't self-consistent.

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