note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Beverly Creasey
Having been traumatized by my two previous "Winter's tale" experiences --- last year at the A.R.T. and some years before at The Brattle --- I was dreading yet another production, My fears were unfounded. The Publick gets it right --- with a searing performance from Nancy E, Carroll as a 16th century feminist, righteous anger and all.
Director Diego Arciniegas uses the wooded slopes adjacent to the stage to full advantage, with gorgeous tendrils of light (By Craig Brennan) illuminating the offstage action : finding an abandoned baby in the grass, or exiting pursued by a bear (or was it a yetyi? It didn't look like any bear I've ever seen).
SiouxSanna Ramirez-Cruz makes the argument of time most eloquently, upending an hourglass as the years pass between Act I (which features a miscarriage of justice) and ACT ii (which welcomes surprising reconciliations and forgiveness).
Arciniegas also plays the headstrong King who accuses his innocent wife (Susanne Nitter as his longsuffering Queen) of adultery. Both Arciniegas and Nitter bring humanity to their difficult roles. The King must transform himself before our eyes, and the Queen must have the patience of Job.
The Publick production can boast many fine performances, namely Steve Barkhimer in two pivotal roles, Nathaniel McIntyre as the smitten young Prince and Michael Saenz as the quintessential reporter. Set designer Janie Howland takes to heart Shakespeare's line about the danger of ornamentation; her set is simple and expansive, stretching offstage, into the sky above and the trees which enclose the theatre. At last (and in the summer!) "The Winter's Tale" is told with grace and style. Bravo.