the winter’s tale – a review

O call back yesterday, bid time return

Sitting in the darkness lit by candles, I was immediately awed by the atmosphere The Bridge Project managed to create in that little concert hall. Performing unamplified, there were moments the words spoken were lost on me (even though I was sitting¬† a mere few rows from the stage) but it didn’t lessen the impact the actors had on my tender little heart. Yes, I teared twice during the play. I tried my best to hide it though seeing that no one else around me was weeping. And why should I weep? Granted, I can cry while watching National Geographic documentaries but there was something in Simon Russel Beale’s tragically jealous character who seeks repentance that touched me.

Honestly, I never did enjoy nor understand Shakespeare’s comedies and am more entertained by his tragic, wretched plays. This could be the reason why I was mildly distracted during the second half (which takes place in Bohemia) and instead, was entertained by Crazy Chick, who was busy trying to snap pictures of Ethan Hawke. ‘I wonder how long it’ll be before someone stops her?’ I mused in the darkness.

It took approximately half an hour before my neighbour leaned over me and whispered to her, ‘Excuse me, could you please stop doing that?’

I squirmed lower in my seat than I thought possible but once Crazy Chick apologized and peace returned, it was just in time for me to catch the final quiet act where Hermione (the statue) magically comes alive to speak with her family. And that’s when I teared the final time.

The backdrop was amazing. Simplistic, effective and surprisingly modern, I wanted to take them home with me to decorate my future house. I appreciated the way the changing of scenes on stage was worked into the play itself and the use of lights on the whole production. Blurring the lines of the stage and audience was also appropriately effective and a nice enough surprise throughout the play.

‘Which was your favourite part?’ Spike asked me.

I have to say it was that singular moment of intimate friendship (which was misconstrued as adultery) between Hermione and Polixenes. They lay on the pillows and their hands were intertwined, fingertips dancing to their own tune… there was just real chemistry between the characters then. It was almost voyeuristic, watching them share those few minutes as Leontes hovered in jealousy. Juxtaposed against the obvious kissing and necking between Perdita and Florizel, the latter just didn’t have the same connection.

So I walked away tonight feeling satisfied. No, I didn’t get a chance to read the play like I wanted to but darn it, they actors did a fine job bringing to life words that somehow, rang true with what I felt inside me.

Thank you guys for transporting me away from a busy life for three hours. I loved dwelling in the fantasy that you created.

the winter’s tale

thebridgeproject

Ah crap. Shit, shit shit…

I am less than 24 hours away from watching The Winter’s Tale staged by The Bridge Project and I have no idea what it’s all about.¬† I know Shakespeare wrote it. I know it’s one of his most problematic plays. I know there’s someone called Hermione in it. I know it’s a love story but (wail) I don’t anything else other than that! And the tix cost me $200 upwards! Yes, they are one of the better seats, courtesy of Crazy Chick, who called me up a month ago asking I wanted to watch it with her.

I thought I’d have enough time to read the play (I do love Shakespeare) but with the projects that I had to handle and a shift in my portfolio at work… I barely had enough time to breathe, let alone read. Okay. That’s a lie. I have been selective about my reading and most recently completed Chuck Klosterman’s A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas, which I loved. Also just started on a fabulous book by Elizabeth Kostova titled The Historian so… in my case, it could be more a matter of discipline.

I just can’t read Shakespeare while traveling on the train or while waiting for the bus… or in the toilet for that matter! He’s just not casual, if you know what I mean.

In a last minute frenzy, I did what all literature students do. I searched the net. Wikipedia helped a bit, as did SparkNotes. And I managed to flip through the commentaries in the version of The Winter’s Tale that I have. Still, I can’t help feeling lousy about the fact that I may be wasting good money because I can’t understand the play at the depth that I want to. sob.

Sorry Sam Mendes, Ethan Hawke and the rest of the cast. I’ll applaud loudly, I promise. I hope my guilt doesn’t ring too loudly in my cheers though.