Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Winter's Tale (Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan) - Review

Warning: Includes some spoilers

(Image courtesy of

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan recieves my applause once again, for a wonderful performance.

Despite challenges of heat and distraction, players were able to give a near flawless performance of "The Winter's Tale" last night. I sat close enough to the stage to see the sweat drenching the costumes, and yet there wasn't a single occasion when anyone stepped out of character - and convincing performances they were.

Every small detail was taken into consideration - from the shaking hands of Hermione (Cheryl Jack) as she expressed her distress, to the veins showing in Leontes' (Matt Burgess)' neck as he convicted his wife to jail. Hair was greyed to show the passage of time between the first and second acts. Hearts leapt to the aid of Paulina (Anita Smith) as she faced Leontes, incensed by his refusal to admit his offspring.

The lesser number of actors in this years' play did cause some confusion on my part. I first thought Perdita to be Mamillius dressed as female to hide his identity (both played by Jamie Lee Shebelski), and both Antigonus and Autolycus to be the same character, albeit with a strong confidence boost (both played by Leon Willey). However, as the storyline progressed, it was easy to see my err, as Shebelski played a very sweet, feminine Perdita, in contrast to Mamillius who enjoyed playing with toys and playfighting; and Willey played a very boisterous and exhuberant Autoclyus, in contrast to the shaking, meek Antigonus.

While I did find myself fidgeting by the end of each act due to the highly uncomfortable seats, my attention was captured every moment. This year's group of players is incredibly talented, and well worth seeing. I look forward to seeing their other play, "Love's Labour's Lost", later this season.


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