Running time: 2 hours including a 15 minute intermission
Recommended minimum age: 10
Taube Atrium Theater
401 Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA, 94102
Nearest BART Station: Civic Center
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The Winter’s Tale
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by L. Peter Callender
The Winter’s Tale explores the unsteady, unsettling, poisonous realm of jealousy and distrust as a childhood friendship is irrevocably torn apart by a grievous misunderstanding.
King Leontes of Sicilia accuses his pregnant wife, Hermione, of infidelity with best friend and fellow King of neighboring Bohemia, Polixenes. His rage and misguided tyranny results in the plot to have the King of Bohemia killed, banish the newborn baby girl, imprison his innocent wife, and turn his stunned staff and nation against him. Directed by Artistic Director of AASC, L. Peter Callender, this study of love, jealousy, tyranny and ultimate forgiveness will bring all the complicated plot twists, memorable characters and one of Shakespeare’s most magical and romantic and unforgettable endings to life.
Bold solutions to so-called ‘problem play’ by Lily Janiak
“’The Winter’s Tale’ is story of repentance and forgiveness, even renewal. But I cannot not help but think that politically, it comes off as timely. If only every nation had a Delphic Oracle to correct the lies, rumors, and alternate truths of misguided leaders.
The African-American Shakespeare Company is always interesting. Come see this production and support a most worthy San Francisco arts organization.”—Irene Nelson, Theatrius
“and a little child shall lead them” Isaiah 11.6
In The Winter’s Tale, one the last of Shakespeare’s plays, we journey from the tyrannical to the pastoral to the spiritual and romantic all through the workings of Time and as imagined by the young Prince, Mamillius. This classical story is presented by African-American Shakespeare Company with a cast consisting equally of male and female actors. Each bringing their own special talents to our stage; an untraditional, raw approach where women play male roles, and the classic male characters are portrayed as Shakespeare realized them—all informed by the brilliance of the romantic text.
I think it’s fair to say that we are all very interested in and concerned about the plight of our young people. They are asked to grow up too quickly, missing out on the promised childhood. Children listen with their eyes. They see more than their parents think they see and experience. In my adaptation of this brilliant story, we are introduced to a little Prince seeing his family torn apart by the suddenly tyrannical behavior of his father. He sees the effects on his pregnant mother and shares a sad tale of what could happen to a family in this situation and, in so doing, leads his family out of the darkness to the light.
It is a triumphant display of clashing desires, hidden motives, and love: always love. Shakespeare has threaded contemporary themes such as mental illness, family abuse, teen rebellion, with the classic themes of fate, royal privilege and monomaniacal behavior. This is when theatre excites and thrills and makes us lean forward. It moves us to think and look at our own hearts and actions. It asks us to awake our faith in each other and ourselves.
African-American Shakespeare has assembled a team of artists and artisans, who, in conjunction with the impeccable setting of the Taube Atrium, present this reimagined telling of The Winter’s Tale, with enhanced staging emphasizing each character’s internal struggle.
We are proud to be there!
I am thankful to the staff, the board, sponsors and donors of African-American Shakespeare Company for their continued support.
Lean forward and look on with marvel!
—L. Peter Callender