Monday, August 10, 2009

The Winter's Tale


My neighbour very kindly gave me some tickets for The Winter's Tale at the Old Vic. I hadn't read or seen the play before but I must say I really enjoyed it. The first half is a tragedy of jealousy set at the Sicilian court and the second half is largely a comedy of rustics in the Bohemian countryside. It has notable elements of Oedipus: in each play the king is told that his child will fulfil an oracle. Both kings refuse to believe the oracle and both arrange to have the children killed. Both children (Oedipus and Perdita) are saved by shepherds and in both cases the oracle is fulfilled but in Oedipus' case there is a terrible outcome whereas in Perdita's case there is reconciliation and joy.
The production by Sam Mendes is part of the Bridge Project, a Sam Mendes-Kevin Spacey joint venture so half the actors are British and half American. Simon Russell Beale, Leontes, King of Sicilia, was the best British actor and I thought the best American was Ethan Hawke who played Autolycus, the thieving peddlar. He played the guitar and sang the Shakespearean lyrics in a very modern American style: bravo!

7 Comments:

Blogger Angus said...

I was wondering what to do on a quick o/night trip back to London this week. I shall now phone the Old Vic box office to see what tickets are left. Thank you.

10:00 am  
Blogger Mopsa said...

Mopsa's name comes from The Winter's Tale... did you spot her on stage?

11:57 am  
Anonymous Phidelm said...

Sounds interesting, WW - bit envious of theatre outing, but glad you enjoyed it!
Have never seen TWT - isn't that the one containing a ref to the coast of Bohemia plus the articulate pickpocket, Autolycus, and the celebrated stage direction 'exit, pursued by a bear'?
But then, what do I know ;-)?

6:27 pm  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Hi Angus - hope you can go!

Yes, Mopsa, I saw your namesake and thought of you. I preferred Mopsa to Dorcas.

Yes, Phidelm, that's the one. The bear was one of the best parts!

7:51 am  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Sounds very enjoyable.

6:03 pm  
Blogger kinglear said...

WW - I am shocked. A lady of your excllent education never having seen one of Shakespeare's plays? I can hardly credit it. And have you not read it too??

6:32 pm  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Hi KL - it's fortunate that my education is an ongoing process.

8:12 am  

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