The End of The Winter(‘s Tale)

Photo courtesy of
‘Day 119/365 – The Winter’s Tale’
courtesy of ‘Kevin H.’

Shakespeare’s assertion that “a sad tale’s best for winter” seems certainly to be ringing true this year: the deepening recession, the recent dreary snowpocolypse, Blago’s book deal; all these are enough to depress even the heartiest optimist. The play The Winter’s Tale, as performed by the Folger Theater company at the Folger Shakespeare Library, however, is a bright spot as winter wanes and not to be missed in this, its last weekend. 

I saw the play on the early end of its run. It was an evening of firsts — the first time I had seen a play in the adorably authentic Globe-like theater as well as the first time I had seen The Winter’s Tale performed.  I left feeling giddy and strangely uplifted, despite the fact that the first few acts are practically scarring. Though the play is a comedy, it hinges upon the extreme shift from dark to light, despair to hope.

As all first-rate Shakespeare performances do, the production brought out the inappropriate double-entendres and sexual puns and made the characters seem modern somehow modern. The overarching theme of storytelling was brilliantly drawn forth using the Mamillus character (played by Zophia Pryzby) as a child being read a bedtime story. I’ve also never seen a more unflappable and brazen female character in Shakespeare as Naomi Jacobson’s Paulina. 

The curtain goes up on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. this weekend. Ticket prices range from $34-$55, depending on the show time and day and can be purchased through the Folger box office.

Acacia has lived in DC since graduating from Vassar College with degrees in English and Italian. She cries daily at the thought of her imminent departure from this beloved city, as she will begin a Fulbright teaching grant in the Campania region, Italy come October. She’ll be blogging that experience too. Get at her: or follow her on twitter.

One thought on “The End of The Winter(‘s Tale)

  1. A full exploration of the themes put forward in this play hardly makes it a bedtime story for a child. Does this version include the death of the child Mamillius through grief at the horrible treatment of his mother by the mad King Leontes, or has that part been cut out?