Monday, December 5, 2011

The Winter's Tale

Eugene Douglas as Leontes inThe Winter's Tale. Photo by Michael Bailey.
I took in a matinee performance of The Winter's Tale by the Almost Blasphemy touring troupe this past weekend. I had tried to read the play earlier in the year, and have to admit, I only got about half way through it. After seeing this production, I think I'll pick it back up.

Eugene Douglas is amazing as the Sicilian King Leontes. He stalks this stage in a bravura performance, very reminiscent of James Keegan at his best. He mixes in all the right emotions to make his performance one of the more memorable of this artistic year. Also outstanding is Stephanie Holladay Earl as Hermione, Queen to Leontes; Jake Mahler as the hilarious cutpurse Autolycus, Ronald Peet as the shepherd (he plays a great old man), and Rick Blunt as his clownish son. Denice Mahler is fantastic playing both the son and daughter of Leontes and Hermione. Daniel Abraham Stevens plays her love interest, Florizel, and turns in a strong performance.

This play is interesting; it is intense during the first half, with many tough to watch scenes as Leontes destroys his family out of jealousy. The play seems to turn toward the comedic about the time of "Exit, pursued by a bear." There is a definite lighter feel to the performance following the musical interlude. Erin West's costumes are again outstanding and tell a tale of their own, particularly Hermione's bloody dress.

I'm looking forward to seeing this one again at Roanoke College in January and back on stage in Staunton.

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