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Actors From the London Stage
Actors From the London Stage
Actors From the London Stage

Actors From the London Stage: 'Winter's Tale'

By Mark Allen
Professor of English

(Oct. 1, 2008)--The UTSA Friends of Shakespeare and the Department of English will host a return of Actors From the London Stage. The touring ensemble of five British actors will perform Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale" at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 8, 10 and 11 in the Arts Building Recital Hall on the UTSA 1604 Campus.

The actors, from such prestigious companies as the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain, and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre are Robert Mountford, Eunice Roberts, Matthew Douglas, Erin Brodie and William Hoyland. The performers play multiple roles in a production that utilizes simple costumes and minimal scenery with an emphasis on the riches of Shakespeare's language.

Actors From the London Stage visit selected American universities each year to perform and to conduct classes and workshops. This is the company's 22nd visit to UTSA and San Antonio. The residency is supported by The UTSA Friends of Shakespeare and a grant from the Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts.

Actors From the London Stage is an international touring theater organization based in London and at the University of Notre Dame. It combines the superb talents of professional actors on stage with rare opportunities for students to work with them in the classroom. Covering a vast range of topics, AFTLS residencies have been bringing Shakespeare to life at UTSA for over twenty years.

Tickets are $18, $10 for students with a student ID), and are available at the UTSA Information Center in the University Center on the 1604 Campus (cash or check). Tickets also will be available at the door (cash or check). All seats are reserved. For more information or student group bookings, call (210) 458-5358.

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About "The Winter's Tale"

From Wikipedia:

"The Winter's Tale" is a play by William Shakespeare first published in the First Folio in 1623. Although it was listed as a comedy when it first appeared, some modern editors have relabeled the play a romance. Some consider it to be one of Shakespeare's "problem plays" because the first three acts are filled with intense psychological drama, while the last two acts are comedic and supply a happy ending.

Nevertheless, the play has occasionally been extremely popular and enjoyed theatrical productions in various forms and adaptations by some of the leading theater practitioners in Shakespeare performance history.

The play contains the most famous Shakespearean stage direction: "Exit, pursued by a bear," describing the death of Antigonus. It is not known whether Shakespeare used a real bear from the London bear pits or an actor in bear costume. The Royal Shakespeare Company, in one production of this play, used a large sheet of silk that moved and created shapes to symbolize both the bear and the gale in which Antigonus is traveling.

From The Globe Theatre Web site:

This drama is generally classified as a comedy play by William Shakespeare. However it also is referred to as a "problem play" because it cannot be easily described as either a tragedy or comedy. The plot story moves between King Leontes' court in Sicilia and Bohemia. The complications arise from King Leontes' and his Queen's friendly attentions to the visiting King of Bohemia. In a trial, the Oracle of Delphi declares the queen guiltless but the king still banishes her.

Their young son, Mamillius dies of grief, but the queen's newborn baby daughter, Perdita, is rescued from death by a Bohemian shepherd who raises her as his daughter. There is a long time lapse of 16 years between the queen's banishment and the delayed happy ending, which has a few surprises.

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