Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical
hermionesviolin

[Theatre@First] The Winter's Tale [2009-05-01]

Friday, Cate and Allie and I went to Theatre @ First's production of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale.  We got dinner at Blue Shirt Cafe and people were making noises about dessert, so we went to Harvard Square to get cupcakes at Sweet [website -- warning: sound], but I wasn't particularly moved, so then we went to Hrerell's and I got an "Elvis' Favorite," which unfortunately I wasn't that taken with (though I did get a coupon for $1 off my next ice cream purchase there).

Over dinner, I mentioned that Ian had said it's Shakespeare's best play.  Allie (the only one of us who has actually read the play) looked at me disbelievingly.  I shrugged, since the only thing I knew about the play was that it contained the stage direction "Exeunt, pursued by a bear."  Watching the play, once the BATSHIT CRAZY hit I understood why she had reacted as she did.

It's a well-done production (see bard_in_boston review, for example), but, yeah. 

It's a weird play.  The first half is very talky, and the second half is hello, Tom Baker fast-forward 16 years and then we're in the pastoral&comedic.  (Allie commented later that it's a common trope to have the: things go bad in the royal realm, people leave for the rural area and things get resolved, then everyone returns to the royal realm for a happy ending -- certainly this is reminiscent of As You Like It, which we had been talking about I think in the context of other Shakespeare plays that don't entirely work for me.)

The king's all "Bohemia, my best friend, stay," and then once his wife convinces Bohemia to stay, he's convinced that his wife and Bohemia are having an affair and won't listen to reason at all and just escalates and we don't see any reason why he's so insanely jealous.  (Yes we see his wife and Bohemia being all touchy-feely bff-y, but...)

I loved the reading of the Oracle.  And then after some stunned silence, one of the guys says some praise to Apollo and I thought, "The word of God, for the people of God; thanks be to God," and later, "Blessed be the name of the Lord."

I would quibble that having a bear claw grab Antigonus is not "exit, pursued by a bear," but it did make neat use of light and shadow with that white curtain which was used in so many of the scenes.  (The king's son had a stuffed bear, so I was totally expecting that to get used in that scene.)

I could do without Autolycus, but I'm almost never a fan of the low comedy in Shakespeare (much like the whole "those of royal blood are naturally more beautiful and amazing than everyone else, even when they were raised by shepherds" is a product of Shakespeare's socio-historical moment and so I can't actually fault his plays for using it).

I quite liked the Shepherd's son (Clown).  And facebook searching the actress, I think she's Bryn Mawr '99.

Paulina's really intense about the king not remarrying and whatever, and at first I was wondering if she wanted to marry the king and then I was like, "Okay, how in love with Hermione were you, Paulina?"  By the time we got to Paulina's gallery, I was half-expecting Hermione to be magically resurrected, but I was not expecting live!statue!Hermione (who's been kept secret in a back room for 16 years!).  Continuing the bizarreness,  Paulina's like, "btw, I'm not actually doing black magic" and then proceeds to totally act like she's doing a magic spell, plus she orders Paulina around ("descend," "look upon your daughter," etc.) which seems so bizarre since hello, royalty you are not -- though on reflection, she's very take-charge from the very beginning (going to see Hermione and hatching a plan to convince the king -- which, yeah, not so much ... I facepalmed that she left the baby with the king, 'cause yeah, the cuteness of babies does not conquer all, esp. when you think the baby may not actually be your blood after all).

I really liked that before the king leaves the stage (after everyone else has left), he stops looks back and the ghost of his son waves goodbye 'cause yeah he wasted 16 years shedding tears for a wife who wasn't actually dead, but his son really is dead (which I had actually forgotten when he said that line, even though we see the ghost of the son at least once before).

I sent Ian a brief email after I got home, and in his reply he said, "I'm not sure what you mean by BATSHIT CRAZY.  The play's an allegory.  Not everything is supposed to be real."  I am not satisfied with this answer but don't expect a response to my reply since we're heading in to the final  two weeks of teaching.

from the Director's Note (in the printed program): "Its essential quality is elusive: a sense of frozenness, of fear, that leads people to do stupid things against their own better judgment and lose everything.  And then a thaw, and a softening, and by some grace we are allowed to live again." -Kamelia Dolinova, April 2009

***

This was the first time I'd been in Unity Church (inroite?).

In the room the play was in, on the wall was:

...it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
-Luke 12:32

I looked it up when I got home and yeah, not quite as universal salvation-y when you fill in the ellipsis.  Oh well.

In browsing some of the literature outside the sanctuary, I learned that Unity is an actual denomination, though it sounded a lot like Unitarian Universalism (though definitively monotheistic, and they seemed to use some Christian liturgy and do Communion and stuff).

***

We talked about various theatre goings-on, so for reference:

Spring Awakening
Through May 9
The Boston Center for the Arts (539 Tremont St., Boston)
Through May 24
The Colonial Theatre (106 Boylston St., Boston)

Looking at the Zeitgeist Stage page, apparently Zeitgeist is doing the play that was the inspiration for the musical that's playing at the Colonial (which Jessie saw and hated).

'Tis Pity She's a Whore @ the Loeb Experimental Theater
Show Times:
May 1-3 at 7:30 pm
May 7-9 at 7:30 pm

NYC's Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park is doing Twelfth Night this summer (June 10 - July 12), but Google is not turning up anything for Boston's Shakespeare in the Park for this summer.

Pirates! (Or, Gilbert and Sullivan Plunder'd)
by Gilbert and Sullivan
Directed by Gordon Greenberg
BU Theatre - Mainstage
5/15/2009 – 6/14/2009
Tags: church: somerville: unity church, food: boston area, planning ahead, plays: attended, plays: boston area, plays: shakespeare, shakespeare: the winter's tale
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