Shakespeare Theatre Company presents The Winter's Tale

Apr 2, 2013
Shakespeare Theatre Company

The Shakespeare Theatre Company, recipient of the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award, presents a moving story about mistakes and forgiveness in William Shakespeare's famous play, The Winter's Tale. Directed by STC Affiliated Artist Rebecca Bayla Taichman, this visually stunning and intimate production will feature live musicians and a female approach to the tale. Co-produced with McCarter Theatre Center, The Winter's Tale will play at the Lansburgh Theatre (450 7th Street NW) from May 9-June 23, 2013.

Taichman has cast nine talented actors to play 16 characters in STC's first foray into small-cast Shakespeare. This production will employ unprecedented part doublings such as Leontes/Autolycus and Mamillius/Time/Perdita. The actors' transitions between these roles, some of which will take place on stage, will invoke a masque style of entertainment and lend to the play's transformative themes.

"Our story is told by a company of nine actors in which everyone in Sicilia plays everyone in Bohemia," Taichman elaborated. "Hopefully at the heart of the endeavor [the audience] will feel a celebration of the actors' capacity to contain multitudes-as Shakespeare was celebrating our capacity for contradiction, transformation, multiplicity, so too does this production."

The Winter's Tale spans 16 years, two nations and at least two dramatic genres. An act of jealousy sets the plot into motion when Leontes, King of Sicilia, accuses his virtuous wife Hermione of infidelity with his friend Polixenes, King of Bohemia. Leontes' spiteful sentence against his queen and newborn child brings divine punishment down upon his house and head, a wrong which can only be righted if the lost child, Perdita, is found once more. The resulting events of this sometimes romance, sometimes comedy include forbidden love, mistaken identity and magic.

Taichman called Shakespeare's late romance a "study in tonal collision-sliding from tragedy to comedy and back again." Taichman and her design team are approaching the genre-crossing play in innovative ways. "As a director, the visual and theatrical challenges are...well...absurdly difficult and wonderfully exciting," she said. "You've got that famous stage direction: 'Exit, pursued by a bear.' You've got a statue that needs to come to life. You've got two tonally opposite worlds that somehow need to make illogical logic together."

Taichman directed Shakespeare's Cymbeline in 2011 for STC, along with productions of Twelfth Night and The Taming of the Shrew. "I am delighted to return to the Shakespeare Theatre Company for The Winter's Tale," she said. "Michael Kahn and the entire staff at STC have made the most wonderful artistic home and it is my honor to be welcomed back."

The Winter's Tale is sponsored by the Artistic Leadership Fund. Additional support is provided by KPMG and the Share Fund of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region.

To purchase tickets or to learn more, patrons can call the box office at 202.547.1122 or visit