“The Winter’s” Tale Is a Valiant Effort, But Ultimately Misses the Mark

Rebecca Blum (left) and Jessica Heironimus star in "The Winter's Tale" (photo by Jeff Buckner)
Rebecca Blum (left) and Jessica Heironimus star in "The Winter's Tale" (photo by Jeff Buckner)

Bare Theatre and The Delta Boys’ presentation of The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare opens with tender music and gentle conversation between Hermione (Heather J. Strickland), the Queen of Sicilia, and her son Mamilius (Eowyn Blum), but quickly bursts into a festive party scene where all the guests are eerily clad in black and white, cleverly foreshadowing the disastrous events to follow. In fact, The Delta Boys’ young artistic director Lucius Robinson excels at subtle touches with this production. Robinson choreographs an intense and fascinating-to-watch rhythmic cigar-smoking scene after the birth of Perdita and a poetic slow-motion scene in which all the characters fall backward slowly as Hermione appears to die. It is the bigger picture, however, that he seems to have trouble with.

Although the first few acts unfold smoothly and at a steady pace, things fall apart rapidly once viewers are transported from Sicilia to Bohemia. The colorful costumes and clown noses for the Bohemian rustics are a nice change from the dreary clothes of the Sicilian court; but the action is not tightly controlled, and the stage feels cluttered and unmanageable for much of the show.

Even though Carolyn McDaniel’s Perdita, clad in a flowing dance skirt, is fun to watch and full of energy, she enunciates poorly, causing many of the Bard’s words to be lost. Garrett Stein-Seroussi’s spot-on Florizel almost makes up for this, but not quite.

The scenes in Bohemia are presented in such a jarringly different way than the scenes in Sicilia that they leave much to be desired. A less stark juxtaposition would have worked well here.

The strength of the first few acts makes the play well worth a view though. Heather Strickland’s Hermione is quietly graceful and always fascinating to watch, and Loren Armitage’s twitchy, maniacal Sicilian King Leontes provides the perfect counterbalance and induces a few shivers. Rebecca Blum as Paulina is incredibly multidimensional, making the character funny, believable, strong, and even scary at various points throughout the show and sometimes all at once.

This production of The Winter’s Tale is far from perfect, but there is still much to enjoy here. Veteran Triangle actor Lucius Robinson shows great promise as a director.

The show finished its run at Common Ground Theatre in Durham, NC, on Sunday, Oct. 3rd, and will continue to Sertoma Amphitheater in Bond Park in Cary on Friday, Oct. 8th, where it will run through Sunday, Oct. 10th.

SECOND OPINION: Oct. 1st Raleigh, NC News & Observer review by Roy C. Dicks: http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/10/01/714286/vigor-direction-lift-the-winters.html. (To read Triangle Arts & Entertainment’s online version of the Sept. 30th Triangle Theater Review preview by Robert W. McDowell, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2010/10/william-shakespeares-the-winters-tale-is-a-magical-tale-that-mixes-tragedy-comedy-and-romance/.)

EDITOR’S NOTE: To read all of Susie Potter’s Triangle Arts & Entertainment reviews online, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/susie-q/.

Bare Theatre and The Delta Boys present William Shakespeare’s THE WINTER’S TALE at 8 p.m. Oct. 8 and 9 and 2 p.m. Oct. 10 in the Sertoma Amphitheater in Fred G. Bond Metro Park, 801 High House Rd., Cary, North Carolina 27513.

TICKETS: $15 ($8 students, seniors, and active-duty military personnel).

BOX OFFICE: 919/386-9571, boxoffice@baretheatre.org, or http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/125804.

SHOW: http://www.baretheatre.org/next.html.

PRESENTERS: Bare Theatre: http://www.baretheatre.org/. The Delta Boys: N/A. VENUE: http://classweb.townofcary.org/eConnect/Facilities/FacilitiesDetail.asp?FacilityId=27.


The Play (e-text): http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/ShaWinF.html (First Folio, 1623, University of Virginia) and http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/MobWint.html (Globe Edition, 1866, via UVa).

Study Guide: http://www.bard.org/education/studyguides/winters/tale.html (Utah Shakespearean Festival).

Shakespeare Resources: http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/index.html (University of Victoria and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada).

By Susie Potter

Susie Potter is a 2009 graduate of Meredith College where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina Statue University. In addition to her work for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, she is an award-winning author of short fiction. Works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. For more information visit SusiePotter.com.