Theoretical Scenic Design
The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare
Playhouse Theatre, Penn State University
My Concept ~ For this version of A Winter's Tale I looked to original Shakespeare line etched engravings. There is a contrast of the two kingdoms that were once similar between the first three acts and the final two; of Leontes’ jealousy and mistrust (winter) with the love, gaiety and hope of the Bohemian king’s domain (spring and summer). All the lives in both courts are subject to the whims of the king: Hermione’s life to her husband, Camillo’s life to his lord, and of Polyxinese’s son’s to his father’s ruling about the shepherdess Perdita, and the condemnation of the shepherd and his son for harboring her. With everyone the playthings of the kings, who fear only the divine, both contrasts could be considered the dreamscape of each king. With both men once described as twins, their kingdoms could have fairly resembled one another (though distance of Sicily and Bohemia would keep them historically stylistically apart). By choosing to set The Winter’s Tale, in a surrealistic dreamscape of the mostly traditional Greek performance Shakespeare put to paper, the focus remains on the story and is supported by the absurdity of the sudden turn Leontes’ jealousy takes and in telling the subsequent consequences of this story.