The Winter's Tale
by Torrey Pines Players

An insanely jealous king, a faithful queen, a wise lady in waiting, a hungry bear, the desire of young love, a lot of luck, and a little bit of magic are the ingredients in this Shakespearean fantasy that kicks off the new season at Torrey Pines Players.

Set against the cold, gloomy brightness of a snow-swept courtyard and dead, ice-tipped trees, you get the feeling from the start that this will be a winter’s tale of woe. The first scenes are dominated by the anguished and angry countenance of King Leontes who finds it unbearably clear that his wife Hermione is having an affair with Leontes’ best friend Polixenes, the visiting king of Bohemia. But it is only in his darkly confused mind that this is clear – for no one else in the kingdom sees anything between Hermione and Polixenes but platonic friendship.

Ignoring the advice of his counselors and the pleas of innocence by his wife, Leontes orders the death of his best friend and the imprisonment of Hermione. And while he tries to reassure himself that his young son is truly his, he assumes that his newborn daughter is a product of Polixenes and orders her to be exposed to the wild where the infant princess will face almost certain death. When the gods themselves rebuke Leontes through the Oracle of Delphi, he dismisses the advice of even them – a sin with severe consequences that look to end this story in tragedy. Yet the winter is ebbing, and spring offers a glimmer of hope if they are able to see it.

As the story really gets rolling a little ways into the first act, so do the young Torrey Pines Players under the solid direction of Marinee J. Payne. Jason Roberts is the focus of that first act as the unstable King Leontes who brings all that he had loved down to ruin, with Jason delivering an especially strong performance when his deep feelings of jealousy and barely controlled anger felt palpable. Adele Zhang is the focus of his insanity as the innocent and bewildered Hermione who clearly can’t believe the sudden turn by her husband and its tragic results. Jacob Kraemer is the supposed lover Polixenes who only escapes death when Leontes’s trusted advisor Camillo (Ian Hayes) explains his king’s misguided plot, the two escaping together to Bohemia, though they are destined to return to the court of Leontes for either a reckoning or a reconciliation. Lightening the first act is the amusingly feisty and determined Vimala Narasimhan as Hermione’s lady Paulina who aggressively argues for Leontes to spare the life of Hermione’s newborn daughter, at times making her poor husband Antigonus (Matt Frazier) a little uncomfortable as he finds his wife getting him into the middle of something he’s not too eager to be in the middle of.

Sixteen years later, years that are danced away by Time herself (Dalia Sharf), more humor comes by way of a thief (Ryan Hirschsohn) who fleeces others almost as often as he gets fleeced. His wayward travels lead him to the home of an Old Shepard (Matt Wagner) whose beautiful, young, adopted daughter Perdita (Monterey Salka) is being wooed by prince-in-disguise Florizel (Joel Kramer) – the two generating a youthful and hopeful love that has a chance of healing old wounds if only the older generation lets them.

Performs through November 19, 2004.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Leontes: Jason Roberts
Mamillius: Rafe Gandola
Camillo: Ian Hayes
Antigonus: Matt Frazier
Cleomenes: Adrian Rodriguez
Dion: Tucker Lawrence
Polixenes: Jacob Kraemer
Florizel: Joel Kramer
Archidamus: Jeff McMahan
Old Shepard: Matt Wagner
Clown: Ryan Hirschsohn
Autolycus: Kovhan Vlach
A Mariner: Tucker Laurence
A Jailer: Geoff Haskell
Hermione: Adele Zhang
Perdita: Monterey Salka
Paulina: Vimala Narasimhan
Emilia: Phelan Warren
Mopsa: Jenny Franks
Dorcas: Stacey Hardke
Time: Dalia Sharf
Lady: Arpana Arjun
Lady: Sudipa Datta
Lady: Sonia Oleniak

Director: Marinee Payne
Student Director: Lauren Kunin
Technical Director: Garen Checkley
Stage Managers: Ben Halstead, Anthony Marefat
Scenic Design: Garen Checkley, Min Yu
Lighting Design: Michael Rooney
Costume Design: Tiffany Wu
Sound Design: Greg Bernstein


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