A Review of The Winters Tale by William Shakespeare

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A Review of “The Winter’s Tale” by William Shakespeare

  Before I actually saw The Winter’s Tale, I was apprehensive about whether I would be able to follow the play or whether I would be confused, as it would be using the Shakespearian language. I also wondered whether and how the Sixth Form and the director had developed the play to try and involve the audience more, as there was a language barrier.  The play was going to be performed by the Sixth Form in the school hall, so this gave me a feeling that it would not be a very effective performance as it was performed by amateurs. Also, the fact that it was performed by the Sixth Form meant that I knew some of the actors, so it would be more difficult for me to see those people as the characters they played.

  While waiting outside for the performance to begin, a ‘newspaper boy’ came around offering Newspapers saying ‘Read all about it, read all about it’. He was in Victorian time costume, which gave me the impression that this performance would be very old-fashioned and, in some ways, not as easy to follow because of this. The fact that he was in costume also made me feel as if we, the audience, were part of the play, and more involved, because we were interacting with a character from the play. The newspaper that the newsboy gave out was also a very effective thing to bridge the language barrier between the characters and us as it gave a basic introduction to what the play was about.

  According to the newspaper given to us, the play itself had two main plots and a side plot. One plot was set in Sicilia and told of how the Queen had died because of accusations from the King of her having an affair with his old friend the King of Bohemia and how Mamillius, their son, had also died after the King had chosen to ignore the oracle sent from Apollo to say that the Queen was not guilty. The second plot was a slightly more light-hearted one about how the Prince of Bohemia had fallen in love with a shepherd’s adopted daughter and how his father had forbidden the marriage but how the couple were intent on going to Sicilia to find help from the King there. The side plot turned out to be about a thief named Autolycus who was a woman disguised as a man disguised as a man. This was a very humorous character for the play.

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  The first impression of the actual set that I had was that it was very dull, dark and solemn. It was a tiered stage with an arch on the top level. It was all painted black. This gave it a dreary, cold atmosphere, which supports the winter atmosphere. There was also a green backdrop with some silver trees, which added to the winter atmosphere but also gave it a more clear, somewhat pure outside feel, rather than just a black, dull atmosphere. The black of the stage set seemed to me to represent neutrality, because it was the ...

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