The Winter’s Tale

This was a bittersweet 2016 Next Wave Festival for me this year. For numerous reasons, I missed out on many shows I wish I could have seen. Thank goodness for the BAM social media team for sharing so much about the performances I could not attend. It was kinda sorta like being there. That said, I did manage to see several shows, the last of which was The Winter’s Tale, one of William Shakespeare’s darker plays written later in his life. I had no idea what to expect. I was unfamiliar with the plot, and purposely avoided reading up on it, so I could experience it without preconceived ideas. Wow, what a ride! While I sat warm and snug in my seat, a family fell apart onstage in the most shocking way. Think Greek tragedy, and you’ll get the gist of the general nature of the unfortunate events. I had hoped for more comments on the BAM blog from attendees who were familiar with the play. I am curious as to what more experienced viewers thought. Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod of Cheek by Jowl presented the work in a modern setting. I have nothing to compare it to, except to say that I was riveted by the unbelievable story and the surprising ending. The opening scene — where the staging had the characters freezing like statues and foreshadowing the final scene — was my favorite. The raucous party antics during the sheep shearing celebration seemed a bit gratuitous. Overall, however, I thoroughly enjoyed a terrific evening of theater presented by fabulous actors. It was a tall tale indeed, but one that genuinely revealed many of our contradictory human impulses. In that respect, it was utterly true to life.

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