Last night, I had the opportunity to see Sundown Collaborative Theatre's latest offering, (The Winter's Tale) at Greenspace Arts Collective in Denton. I've spent most of the past week reading through Greek Tragedies in preparation for the upcoming UIL One Act Play season, and I spent most of the day yesterday laid out on my back from the monster cold that had descended on me. The previous day and, I'll admit, I watched The Duchess on Amazon so I was certainly prepared for what I was about to see. Tales of infidelity, child murder/abandonment and mistaken identity filled my cold-addled brain as I went out into the first evening of truly fall-like weather we've had as of late.
The Winter's Tale, if you haven't read it recently, follows the formula of a Greek tragedy rather nicely. It tells the tale of Leontes, king of Sicily and the results of his blind suspicion that his wife is sleeping with his best friend. In his jealous rage he orders his friend poisoned and his assumed illegitimate child exposed to the elements which, of course, results in the death of his wife from grief. Leontes is now alone, his friend banished, his wife dead and his children gone/dead with only the midwife left to comfort him. He agrees to not marry again until the midwife blesses the union and that is pretty much the set up for what is to come. I won't ruin the end for you because it takes a unpredictable-until-totally-predicable turn that will have you scurrying home to look up all of the times Shakespeare used the same tricks in other plays, and there are many.
Sundown's production deals with some of the same confusion that is present in the original text, more of genre than theme by integrating music and movement into the performance. Artistic Director Tashina Richardson clearly spent a lot of time and thought piecing together this version of The Winter's Tale. I look at the production as a combination of two different forms of theatre, movement based theatre and text based theatre. In this case, the audience is introduced to many of the characters through movement and then they speak. The most successful with this transition is Robert Linder as Autolycus the pickpocket/narrator. Linder was able to navigate the stylized movement and heightened language with the appropriate amount of humor for what was long considered one of Shakespeare's comedies.
In the second half of the play, we are introduced to the son of Leontes' friend, Florizel on whom the young lover portion of the play rests. Chris Taylor (no relation) was captivating and filled with the kind of youthful energy and good humor that pulled me in to the production. The Sheep Shearing dance was one of the highlights of the evening and I daresay, an audience favorite.
Go see this play! Supporting local artists working where they live is integral to the growth of the community and can only enrich the city that we love. If you are a Bardophile or a dance maven, this production holds something for you, and you can always just wait for the scene with the bear. Really.
(The Winter's Tale) October 3-5 & 10-12 at 8 p.m. at the Green Space Arts Collective in Denton Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 students/seniors. House will open 20 minutes before performance. Group prices are available; please contact us for more information. There will be a small RECEPTION and TALKBACK after October 3 and October 17 shows. To reserve tickets or pay in advance, call (940) 220-9302 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CAST Perdita/Oracle: Bethany Burnside Paulina/Old Shepherd: Melissa Karol Autolycus/Dion: Robert Linder Camillo/Antigonus: Collin Miller Hermione: Tashina Richardson Leontes/Bear: Nicholas Ross Polixenes: Paul Vaughn Florizel: Chris Taylor
CREW Stage Manager: Chloe McDowell Assistant Director: Collin Miller Props/Costume Designer: Irvin A. Moreno Lighting Designer: Natalie Taylor Sound Editor: Lauren Moore Producing Member: Tiffany Hillan