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The Winter's Tale

William Shakespeare

29 Jun - 6 Jul 2019

Chris Weber Brown


Synopsis

Some critics consider The Winter’s Tale to be one of Shakespeare’s ‘problem plays’ in that it is very much a play in two parts. The first half is filled with intense psychological drama, incitement to murder and the abandonment of a newly born child. In the second half the mood changes dramatically to pastoral comedy involving a sheep shearing festival and a young couple falling in love.

Leontes, King of Sicilia, is convinced that his pregnant wife Hermione is having an affair with his childhood friend Polixenes, King of Bohemia. She is sent to prison where she gives birth to a daughter who, on the instructions of the King, is abandoned to a desolate place. Meanwhile Hermione is put on trial but is subsequently reported to have died. Sixteen years pass and we discover that the abandoned baby was found and brought up by a shepherd and has grown into a beautiful girl named Perdita. Subsequently she meets her real father and one can only wonder at her reaction to the man who abandoned her at birth. Over the years there have been many fine professional productions of the play. In 1951 Peter Brook directed with John Gielgud as Leontes. Sam Mendes directed in 2009 at the Old Vic with Simon Russell Beale as Leontes and Rebecca Hall as Hermione. In 2013 the Royal Shakespeare Company staged a new production directed by Lucy Bailey starring Jo Stone-Fewings as Leontes and Tara Fitzgerald as Hermione. Two years later the Kenneth Branagh Production Company staged the play at the Garrick Theatre with simultaneous broadcast to cinemas. The production featured Kenneth Branagh as Leontes and Dame Judi Dench as Paulina. There have been two film versions, a silent one in 1910 and one in 1967 starring Laurence Harvey as Leontes. A BBC production was televised in 1981. Produced by Jonathan Miller, it starred Robert Stephens as Polixenes and Jeremy Kemp as Leontes. In 2014 choreographer Christopher Wheeldon created a full length ballet based on the play at the Royal Opera House. The Winter’s Tale is one of my favourite plays. As with so many plays written by Shakespeare in the 1600s there are characters and themes which reflect directly with those of today - a despotic leader together with love, hate, kindness and compassion. I hope you enjoy the production.

Audition

Audition Sat 9 February 2019 10:30am foyer

Audition Date: Saturday 9 February 2019 10:30am in the Lewes Little Theatre Foyer. Scripts are available from Chris Weber Brown on 07588 531888 or at chriswb16@hotmail.com.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to direct The Winter’s Tale which is a play which has fascinated me for many years. The first half is filled with intense psychological drama including jealousy, tyranny, incitement to murder, unjust imprisonment and the abandonment of a newly born child. In the second half the mood changes dramatically to pastoral comedy involving a sheep shearing festival with music and dancing with a roguish pedlar and a young couple falling in love. Leontes, King of Sicilia, is convinced that his pregnant wife Hermione is having an affair with his childhood friend Polixenes, King of Bohemia. She is sent to prison where she gives birth to a daughter who, on the instructions of the King, is abandonedto a desolate place. Meanwhile Hermione is put on trial but is subsequently reported to have died. Sixteen years pass. The abandoned baby was found and brought up by a shepherd and has grown into a beautiful girl named Perdita. Subsequently she meets her biological father and one can only wonder as to her reaction to the man who abandoned her at birth.

Leontes - thirties to forties. A jealous and tyrannical despot. Subsequently remorseful.

Hermione - thirties to forties. Wife of Leontes. Virtuous, calm, long suffering, strong.

Polixenes - thirties to forties. Kind veneer but capable of cruelty.

Camillo - thirties to fifties. Second in command to Leontes. Courageous, kindly, strong.

Paulina - forties to sixties. Noblewoman. Stands up to Leontes with enormous courage.

Antigonus - forties to sixties. Husband of Paulina. Great defender of Hermione.

Perdita - late teens to early twenties. Brought up by a shepherd but with obvious royal bearing.

Florizel - late teens to early twenties. Son of Polixenes. In love with Perdita.

Autolycus - twenties to sixties. A likeable but roguish pedlar.

Shepherd - fifties to seventies. Honest and friendly. Brings up Perdita as his own daughter. Clown - twenties to thirties. The buffoonish son of the Shepherd.

Mamillius - teenaged. Son of Leontes. Small role at start of play. Could be doubled by one of the actors playing Perdita, Mopsa or Dorcas.

Cleomenes - any age. A lord of Sicila.

Dion - any age. A lord of Sicilia.

Mopsa - late teens to thirties. A country girl in love with Clown. Nice comedic role.

Dorcas - late teens to thirties. A country girl in love with Clown. Nice comedic role.

Ladies in waiting, Jailer, Lords. All could be doubled by actors playing other roles. I have deliberately kept to a minimum the synopsis of each character. If you would like to discuss any character in greater detail prior to the audition, do please contact me. I would be very happy to hear from you. If you need a script please contact me either by phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you.

Audition

Audition Date: Saturday 9 February 2019 10:30am in the Lewes Little Theatre Foyer. Scripts are available from Chris Weber Brown on 07588 531888 or at chriswb16@hotmail.com.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to direct The Winter’s Tale which is a play which has fascinated me for many years. The first half is filled with intense psychological drama including jealousy, tyranny, incitement to murder, unjust imprisonment and the abandonment of a newly born child. In the second half the mood changes dramatically to pastoral comedy involving a sheep shearing festival with music and dancing with a roguish pedlar and a young couple falling in love. Leontes, King of Sicilia, is convinced that his pregnant wife Hermione is having an affair with his childhood friend Polixenes, King of Bohemia. She is sent to prison where she gives birth to a daughter who, on the instructions of the King, is abandonedto a desolate place. Meanwhile Hermione is put on trial but is subsequently reported to have died. Sixteen years pass. The abandoned baby was found and brought up by a shepherd and has grown into a beautiful girl named Perdita. Subsequently she meets her biological father and one can only wonder as to her reaction to the man who abandoned her at birth.

Leontes - thirties to forties. A jealous and tyrannical despot. Subsequently remorseful.

Hermione - thirties to forties. Wife of Leontes. Virtuous, calm, long suffering, strong.

Polixenes - thirties to forties. Kind veneer but capable of cruelty.

Camillo - thirties to fifties. Second in command to Leontes. Courageous, kindly, strong.

Paulina - forties to sixties. Noblewoman. Stands up to Leontes with enormous courage.

Antigonus - forties to sixties. Husband of Paulina. Great defender of Hermione.

Perdita - late teens to early twenties. Brought up by a shepherd but with obvious royal bearing.

Florizel - late teens to early twenties. Son of Polixenes. In love with Perdita.

Autolycus - twenties to sixties. A likeable but roguish pedlar.

Shepherd - fifties to seventies. Honest and friendly. Brings up Perdita as his own daughter. Clown - twenties to thirties. The buffoonish son of the Shepherd.

Mamillius - teenaged. Son of Leontes. Small role at start of play. Could be doubled by one of the actors playing Perdita, Mopsa or Dorcas.

Cleomenes - any age. A lord of Sicila.

Dion - any age. A lord of Sicilia.

Mopsa - late teens to thirties. A country girl in love with Clown. Nice comedic role.

Dorcas - late teens to thirties. A country girl in love with Clown. Nice comedic role.

Ladies in waiting, Jailer, Lords. All could be doubled by actors playing other roles. I have deliberately kept to a minimum the synopsis of each character. If you would like to discuss any character in greater detail prior to the audition, do please contact me. I would be very happy to hear from you. If you need a script please contact me either by phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you.