Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Winter's Tale

Propeller at Zellerbach Playhouse. Actor driven: 12 actors, all men, play all the roles, do the set changes & provide the music. The female characters in the court are played without travesty or camp. The overbearing Paulina works especially well cast as a male. After the grim first half, pastoral scenes kick in a whole different level of energy. A flamboyant, Elton John-inspired Autolycus and country wenches who come across as even more bawdy being played by men who are not very convincingly feminine. Cutest performance: William Buckhurst, who goes from being the put-upon Antigonus in the first half to the hunky Prince Florizel in the second half.

Very physical production. We're shown the disgusting spectacle of a husband kicking his pregnant wife. The boy Mamillius is retained throughout. Is he imagining the story? Staging of the final moments denies the audience a reconciliation scene. It's powerful & devastating. A woman in the audience lost it & could be heard crying as the play ended.

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