The madness of the king

'The Winter's Tale' -- Shakespeare at his most poetic and intensely dramatic

Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2001

Jealousy may be the enemy of love, but it is the friend of drama.

'The Winter's Tale'

* Opens 8 p.m. Friday at Perseverance Theatre.

* Pay-as-you-can preview 7:30 tonight.

* Regular shows 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 6 p.m. Sunday; final show 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2; pay-as-you-can show Wednesday, Nov. 21.

* Tickets $17-$22, depending on the ticket buyer's age and night of the show.

* Available at Hearthside Books and at the door.

In "The Winter's Tale," King Leontes' jealousy nearly destroys his life and the lives of his people, setting in motion events that span a generation and affect kings and peasants in two countries.

Perseverance Theatre opens "The Winter's Tale" on Friday night for a fourweek run. It is directed by Peter DuBois, now in his fourth season as the artistic director for the theater.

"It's definitely the most ambitious thing we've done since I've been here," DuBois said. "We have reconstructed the theater once again."

In addition to reconfiguring the seating to improve the sight lines to the stage, guest artist Laurent P. Berger has designed sets and costumes with New York artist Echo Dannon.

Originally from Paris, Berger now works in New York and does both set design and fine art installations. The three met up in New York and discussed the idea of collaborating on "The Winter's Tale."

Dannon said for her and Berger it was an opportunity for three new experiences to work in Alaska, to work on a play by Shakespeare and to work with DuBois.

"Basically what drew us to the project was Peter he's young and full of ideas and clever," Dannon said.

 

The design reflects the three parts of the play. It opens in Sicilia, moves to Bohemia, then returns to Sicilia 16 years later. DuBois said the play has a dreamlike, otherworldly quality, like a fairy tale.

"There are several different surprises that occur over the course of the play that completely change the universe we're in," DuBois said. "It's a really beautiful design."

"The Winter's Tale" was written about 1610 and is one of the last plays Shakespeare wrote. It is based on a novel by English writer Robert Greene, published in 1588, called, "Pandosto: The Triumph of Time." Shakespeare followed the story line closely and, as Greene's title implies, ends it with redemption. That's an element that was important to DuBois.

 

DuBois said when he selected the plays last spring for the current season, he wanted productions that would leave the audience with a sense of hope.

"It's an incredibly hopeful piece of theater. It's about a world that falls apart and finds its way back together again," DuBois said. "The play deals with all the major themes love, jealousy and in the end redemption and forgiveness."

The story includes consultation with the oracle at Delphi, hidden identities and characters in disguise, tragedy and comedy, and some of Shakespeare's most dynamic poetry, DuBois said.

"He was in top form as a dramatist," DuBois said. "You can really sense what modern drama has pulled from Shakespeare from 'The Winter's Tale.' "

Patrick Moore, who plays the jealous King Leontes, agreed.

"He's doing things with the language that is definitely acrobatic," Moore said.

Moore plays a man who is struck by jealousy almost as though he's been infected by a disease. At one point he has a conversation with himself in which he asks, 'How can I be thinking this?' - as if he's plagued by demons internal and external.

"His journey goes from zero to a hundred," Moore said. "The jealousy is much larger than life, and at the same time one we recognize on a personal level. When something like jealousy takes place in someone with power it gets magnified."

The cast also includes Sara Waisanan and J.M. Foldy, who appeared in the last Perseverance production, "Proof."

All but one member of the 14-member cast are veterans of Perseverance's stage. The cast includes Ekatrina Oleksa, Jake Waid, McLean Cannon, Gina Spartz, Owen Stokes, Ibn Bailey, Tim Mason, Darius Jones, Roblin Davis, Mike James and Micaela Fowler. Many were part of "Hamlet" two years ago, Perseverance Theatre's last Shakespeare production.

There will be a pay-as-you-can preview at 7:30 tonight. "The Winter's Tale" opens Friday and runs through Dec. 2. The show runs almost three hours with an intermission.

"If you go in allowing yourself to be taken on an epic journey, you will enjoy the ride," Moore said.

*****

Riley Woodford can be reached at rileyw@juneauempire.com.



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