THE WINTER'S TALE

by

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

April Ist, 2nd, 3rd, 1965††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† King Edward VII School Dramatic Society

THE WINTER'S TALE

The play opens at the court of Leontes and his queen Hermione in Sicilia. Staying with them is a boyhood friend of Leontes, King Polixenes of Bohemia. Leontes becomes convinced that his wife is in love with Polixenes; Hermione is imprisoned and the King of Bohemia, warned by Camillo, flees the court. In prison, Hermione gives birth to a daughter; convinced it is a bastard, Leontes orders it to be exposed to die. At the Queen's trial the Oracle declares her innocence and at the news of her son Mamillius' death she collapses and dies from shock.

In the second part of the play we see the child, Perdita, brought up as a shepherdess and now sixteen years old. She is wooed by Florizel, the disguised son of Polixenes. But the King, also in disguise, objects to his son's mesalliance and steps in to forbid the match. The lovers flee to Sicilia. Autolicus, an itinerant pedlar and petty criminal, produces evidence of Perdita's birth. Leontes is overjoyed, and to crown his happiness Hermione, the wife he thought dead, is restored to him.

The Interval

There will be one interval of 15 minutes when coffee will be served in the Dining Hall. The audience is asked to return to the Assembly Hall as soon as possible when the bell is rung. Tickets for coffee may be purchased from the stewards before the beginning of the play.

NOTE ON THE PRODUCTION

The School Hall has a curious structural resemblance to a Jacobean theatre-there is the apron stage, the wing doors on either side, the gallery above the stage, and even a minute alcove corresponding to the old inner stage. Television and the cinema have emphasized the close personal relationship between actor and audience in the live theatre that the Jacobean dramatists took for granted, and it was decided to accept the structure of the hall and exploit it. No attempt has been made at an authentic Jacobean production-the play is atimeless myth, mixing the Oracle at Delphos with Whitsun Pastorals and the Renaissance sculptor Julio Romano.

Stage Construction:

M. B. Edge, J. W. Wilson, D. J. Sidery, D. S. Wilkinson, D. A. Banham, M. S. Barker, M. J. D Staniforth, P. J. Thorpe arid others under the direction of Mr. A. W. Surguy arid Mr. J. A. Bray.

Lighting:

P. Blackledge, C. R. Brown, M. B. Edge, R. J. Pilkington, R. D. Bull, J. D. Ellingham under the direction of Mr. W. K. Mace.

The Text

The text adopted is that of G. B. Harrison's Penguin Edition, which retains the Folio punctuation.

Cast in order of speaking:

Camillo, courtier to King Leontes

R. M. Price

Archidamas, courtier to King Polixenes

J. A. Ramsden

†Polixenes, King of Bohemia

P. B. Hall

Leontes, King of Sicilia

D. D. Jones

Hermione, wife to Leontes

.P. N. Brierley

†Mamillius, son to Leontes

D. Thomson

Ladies

M. J. Fair, N. D. C. Clark, N. S. Maxwell

Lords

P. K. Beighton, A. Smith, T. C. Ramsden, A. J. Robinson

Antigonus

S. R. Harrison

Paulina

S. R. Gibson

Gaoler

P. G. Howard

Emilia

A. S. Johnson

Servant

P. J. Greatorex

Cleomines

P. J. Woodhouse

Dion

A. E. Vaughan

Officer of Court

P. Bradley

Mariner

A. G. Knox

Shepherd

C. M. Colley

Clown

R. E. Shelton

Time

J. L. Wragg

†Autolicus

R. W. Allen

Florizel

.D. M. Hodgkin

Perdita

A. R. Wyatt

Dorcas

J. V. Ellis

Mopsa

A. Hill

Servant

P. M. Holmes

Gentlemen of the Court

J. D. Everatt, D. C. Buckley, D. D. Speight

Shepherds

R. I. Anderson, M. J. Henty

Satyrs

J. H. Taylor, C. B. Wilson, D. R. Twigg, R. Bollington, D. W. Gaunt, J. P. Woodhouse, R. A. Bramwell, J. C. Smith, J. R. Baxter

Fiddlers

L. M. Jenkins, J. Crawford

Bassoons

P. Huston, L. H. Dammers

Drummer

A. Hartley

The Play produced by Mr. M. T. J. Axford

Assistant Producer: Mr. C. I. Cook

Music arranged by Mr. N. J. Barnes

Set Design: R. W. Allen and G. J. Gent

Shepherds' Dance arranged by Mr. D. B. Harrison

 

Costumes: Mrs. M. T. J. Axford and mothers of the cast

Programme Design: Mr. C. Helliwell

Make-up directed by Mr. J. C. Hemming

Review and photos from KES Magazine Spring 65

Tragical -comical? Comical -pastoral? Tragical- comical - historical-pastoral? Polonius himself would have been exercised to define "The Winter's Tale". We have lamented the unnecessary death of Mamillius, and laughed at that of Antigonus as we heard the very crunch; we have witnessed with horror the warped judgements and perverse mistrust of two kingly powers, and have smiled at scenes of pastoral life so foreign to our own; we have reeled before the poet's superb disdain for chronology, that has combined in less than three hours' span the superstitions of ancient Greece, the theme of a Roman comedy, the foibles of two medieval kingdoms and an allusion to Renaissance sculpture. The whole conglomeration was symbolised by Shakespeare's fusion of oracular Delphi and the Holy Isle of Delos in the convenient combination "Delphos".

What first seemed so formidable a choice of play proved an ideal vehicle for the purpose. The poet, near the end of his working life, produced little more than a framework, in which the actors could disport themselves free from the graver responsibilities of plot and moral character. To provide such an experience is a proper aim for a school Dramatic Society. Yet this very freedom is a stern challenge: not only must many of the cast throw off their daily inhibitions and assume the panache and proud bearing of a courtly world that lies beyond their experience: they may also have to portray characters whose very conception is insubstantial. D. D. Jones faced this problem well and gave a convincing interpretation of neurotic, self-deceiving Leontes. S. R. Gibson portrayed Paulina faithfully and with great confidence, as she bluntly and fearlessly spoke her mind to her superiors. A. R. Wyatt gave a delicate and most attractive performance as that toy of Fate, the modest Perdita. D. Thomson's young Prince was full of impish humour and promising acting. R. M. Price as Camillo spoke and moved with graceful fluency but lacked a little in variety of voice: his enunciation, however, was a model of clarity. As Polixenes, P. B. Hall, too, spoke clearly and acted with growing authority. Predictably, several could with advantage have cast off restraint and aimed for yet more cavalier pride in voice and gesture.


Self-confidence is indeed both the essential ingredient and the raison d'Ítre of schoolboy drama: and success comes more readily to the comic. Eagerly accepting their opportunity, R. E. Shelton employed the loud tones of "city" Yorkshire and C. M. Colley the milder manners and gentler voice of "country" Yorkshire; they made an immediate appeal to the audience as clownish son and shepherd father. And here, insinuating himself in Court and country alike, comes Autolicus. R. W. Allen took full advantage of this favourite part, playing with maturity and confidence and captivating us from the moment of his initial descent with gesture and song, swagger and leer and instantaneous slyness.

Mr. Axford's production sustained the illusion, boldly adapting "Arena Theatre" techniques to the exigencies of the School Hall. This magnifies the inherent prob-lems of the method: an entrance that is quick enough for the Gallery is absurd for the Stalls. Indeed the solution may lie in the ultimate degree of audience participation, with waiting actors sitting amongst us in the auditorium. The producer was loyally supported not only by a cast of more than fifty actors, musicians and mysterious Satyrs, but by a host of stage and lighting designers and technicians, by masters and masters' wives who undertook the theatre's many "back-stage" tasks especially the excellent make-up, and by those makers of admirable costumes, the mothers of the cast.

G.W.T.


Michael Colley on the left, The Old Shepherd, bending over, pouring the wine. Nothing changes!
This photo courtesy of Michael Colley