Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0858. Monday, 30 October 1995.
Date: Sunday, 29 Oct 1995 22:36:27 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: The Winter's Tale at the Patricia Corbett Theater
Last night, October 28, at the Corbett Theater in the College-Conservatory of
Music, University of Cincinnati, I saw an interesting production of *The
Winter's Tale,* directed by Charles Holmond with Dale Doerman as dramaturg The
Sicilian court had a Germanic flavor with all the characters dressed in heavy
black costumes that reminded me of sixteenth century German paintings. Camillo,
however, was costumed as a seventeenth century English cavalier, though still
in black. I suppose his "difference" was thus indicated.
Bill Mutimer played a rather prissy Leontes. He left Hermione (Shannon Lutz)
and Polixenes (Bryan-Hayward Randall) to talk alone in the second scene because
he is silently taken aside by Camillo to consult what appears to be the daily
court schedule. Leontes' head snaps toward the queen when he overhears her "If
you first sinn'd with us" (1.2.84). However, his gesture was so rapid that I
was unsure whether this was supposed to be the origin of his jealousy in this
Perhaps the most striking addition to the script is the appearance of Time,
dancing in flowing robes before the first scene. Time in this production is a
young woman (Christine Probst) whose right breast was covered only by a
diaphanous piece of cloth. She also appears in the bear-chasing scene
(protecting Perdita's basket), and one of my former students quipped: Exit
pursued by a bare. But why time had a partially exposed breast remains a
But I suppose the director simply wanted to emphasize Time, since at one point
in the play, a chandelier begins to move like the pendulum of a clock, and the
time references seemed to have been italicized.
The Bohemians were dressed in rich browns and earth colors, vaguely autumnal.
Polixenes and Camillo were only conventionally disguised at the shepherds'
feast, and the director solved the problem of the length of 4.4 (recently
discussed here) by cutting the dance of the satyrs, etc., and by declaring a
15 minute intermission at about line 340. The impression I got was that the
first part of the scene was filled with youthful frivolity, and the second part
of the scene (after the intermission) emphasized the intrusion of dark,
middle-aged jealousy. Autolycus (Jacob Garrett White), unfortunately, was
confined to Bohemia in this production and never gets of Sicily. The rogue
hardly got a chance to do his stuff.
When Florizel (Scott Akerman) and Perdita (Martha Sorrentino) arrive in
Bohemia, they are costumed in scarlet, and by the last scene (5.1), all the
characters are in shades of red. Paulina (Naomi Bailis) was excellent in each
of her scenes, and Hermione in the final scene was thrust on stage on a small
platform, surrounded with vaguely diaphanous cloth. I thought the final scene
was quite well-done; I had my handkerchief out (allergies, you know).
Since Autolycus doesn't make it to Sicily in this production, 4.3 was
I was very impressed with Paul Shortt's scene design, which was basically two
large, moveable right angles (covered again with diaphanous cloth) that could
be moved easily to give the semi-thrust stage various shapes. Different
patterns (e.g., stones) could be projected onto these structures. Beyond these,
there were a throne, a bench, and a couple of tables moved on and off as
needed. Basically this was a minimalist production.
The production received mixed reviews in the local papers, but I thought it
well worth the time and money. Unfortunately it had a very short run (October