Erica McClure & Meg Caudill in The Winter’s Tale.
The Winters Tale
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Kathi E.B. Ellis
Review by Kate Barry
Entire contents are copyright © 2014 Kate Barry. All rights reserved.
Worlds collide at Josephine Sculpture Park SummerStage this summer. This theater tucked away in a pocket of Frankfort Kentucky provides an evening of classical theater under the stars with its current production of The Winter’s Tale.
Combining the worlds of visual and performing arts, this theatre company uses Threshold, a house-like sculpture created by Melanie VanHouten as the setting for Shakespeare’s problem play. The four-sided structure is created from a mix-match of doors of varying material and texture. In the program notes, the title Threshold refers to the starting points and transitions within Shakespeare’s’ play. Each open door presents a new issue and scene that progresses the action to a new place. Whether its Leontes (Keith McGill) encountering highly emotional struggles with jealousy or the resolving reveal of Hermoine (Alana Ghent) at the conclusion of the production, doors certainly matter. The production benefits from the sculpture which helps facilitate the transition from the dark colors of Sicilia to the bright pastoral countryside of Bohemia. With Thursday night’s superb weather and the surrounding shrubbery of the park, the pastoral scenes were punctuated by a gorgeous June twilight sky.
The play is comprised of major contrast between acts one and two. As Leontes, Keith McGill is a ruler driven by extreme emotions, which reflects on those around him who serve his court. As he draws false conclusions, a chorus of ticking clocks enhances McGill’s outrage. Clint Gill provides a contrast as the worried yet level headed Camillo who strives to even out Leontes’ misunderstanding. Alana Ghent is Hermoine, Leontes’ steadfast queen who remains committed to what she knows as the truth despite the accusations thrown her way. Act one ends on a light note with the appearance of a bear (and the loud bark of a dog in the audience) as well as the introduction of the pastoral characters.
Lighter fair appears in act two with the familiar themes of music and love that appear in all of Shakespeare’s comedies. Comprised of hippies, hipsters and clowns, the cast brings boundless energy after an emotionally intense first act. Brian West and Kate Raymond play the doe-eyed lovers, Florizel and Perdita. Driven by hope and earnest to marry, Raymond and West bring to life the youthful nature of love and the belief that it can overcome anything. Chris Bartlett and Christopher Rose play the Shepherd and the clown, respectively. With the help of Autolycus, a quick-witted rover played by Michael Mayes, Bartlett and Rose are silly and naïve yet play the comedic bits with perfect timing.
Using a combination of natural elements and art forms, Josephine Sculpture Park SummerStage brings the contrasting worlds of The Winter’s Tale together for a delightful evening of theater.
The Winter’s Tal
June 5-7, 12-14, 2014
Josephine Sculpture Park
1335 Lawrenceburg Road
Frankfort, KY 40601