Arts & Entertainment

Heartbreak and Miracles Abound in “The Winter’s Tale”

Winter's Tale

Pictured: Frederick Stuart, Deborah Strang, Trisha Miller, and Katie Rodriguez. – Courtesy photo by Craig Schwartz

By Brianna Chu

A Noise Within (ANW) brings Shakespeare’s romance to its stage in a more condensed and streamlined version of the five-act play, distilling it instead to two acts. Interestingly, director Geoff Elliott has chosen to set the ANW version during Mussolini’s reign, a choice which dictates the costume significantly and also the set to a slightly lesser degree. This did not seem to significantly alter the plot, however, nor did it seem to be used to make a particular statement, so perhaps this setting was simply a way to bring “The Winter’s Tale” into the more modern period of 20th century Italy.

The minimal, multipurpose set pieces helped transform the stage into a myriad of settings and were especially striking and dramatic when within the setting of Sicily, with stark black flats comprising the city’s architecture. Their matte finish also allowed for some judicious use of projections. The pieces were used to great effect for the most part; however, the locked stairs that comprised the central set piece during Hermione’s trial, while an interesting thought, led to some slightly odd and awkward blocking to compensate for the unusual structure. ANW continues to make excellent use of their space and aisles to help engage and immerse the audience.

In terms of performance, Deborah Strang stole the show as Paulina, bringing a welcome attitude and biting wit to the character. One of her early monologues even spurred an impromptu round of applause from the audience mid-scene as she made her exit. Jeremy Rabb’s performance as Camillo stood out too, as he delivered Shakespeare’s Early Modern English with an ease and clarity that benefited every scene in which he was present.

You can get your local dose of the Bard in “The Winter’s Tale” at A Noise Within until April 11.

A Noise Within
3352 E. Foothill Blvd.
Pasadena CA 91107
(626) 356-3121

February 24, 2020

About Author

Brianna Chu Brianna Chu is an opinion writer for Beacon Media who was born and raised in Pasadena. She loves to cook and to eat, is a lifelong viewer of Food Network, and enthusiastically introduced the tradition of Thanksgiving dinners to her British and European friends while earning her degree at the University of St Andrews. While they absolutely hated going around the table and saying what they were grateful for every year, they also loved the excuse to get together and feast with friends enough to endure it anyway. She also occasionally writes play reviews. She caught the theater bug in high school, acting in five plays and two musicals in high school, and continued to act, produce, and direct in university as well.

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