Monday, August 4, 2008

The Winter's Tale in Marin

"The Winter's Tale" at Marin Shakespeare was not the best Winter's Tale I've ever seen, but I think I had the most fun I've ever had watching it.

Marin Shakespeare is all about the whole theater-going experience. They have a package that they offer called the "Ultimate Theater Experience," which I thought was funny at first, but went on said ultimate experience I found out its title is pretty apt. It includes a dinner and desert, and they have a vegan option which is quite tasty. You eat out of doors with some people you've never met, and they're all talking about Shakespeare and the plays they've seen and having pre-show drinks. It's fun. Managing Director Lesley Currier or her husband Artistic Director Robert speak about the play you are about to see. I usually never like to hear what the runners of theaters have to say about the plays, but these guys are OK. They keep it kind of personal, what problems they had and what they thought about while producing, and they keep it pretty short. They reserve you the best seats in the house with cushions and take good care of you. You can tell they love what they do, and that adds to the enjoyment, too. It gets fairly cold in Marin, so bring a coat even if you think it's warm enough.

Rather than review this one, since I recommend going to Marin Shakespeare irrespective to what I think about their production of "The Winter's Tale," I am just going to put some notes here that I took while in the theater without names of actors or directors. The only things in this list I felt strongly about were Autolycus and Time, which came very close to ruining the whole production and the "Ultimate Theater Experience."

Things I hated:
  1. The sheep shearing festival is loooong and booooring with too many games.
  2. Time is on the stage the whole time doing things. Sometimes what he does is cool/funny/necessary, and he gives good speeches, but he's moving the whole time and making noises with sticks and things, so we are constantly aware of his presence, which sounds like a good idea, but it isn't. The magic of time is that we don't always notice it, time surprises us. It should be like that person you forget is at the table and shocks you with a perspicacious remark when you least expect it. If you want Time to stay on stage the whole time, let him sit still so that he doesn't become tedious and annoying.
  3. The thief has no understanding of comic timing. Everything is so slow with him that you can't wait for him to get off the stage.

What I liked:
  1. Perdita was good, and her surrogate father, too.
  2. The shepherd clowns are funny.
  3. Costumes were nice.
  4. Tiny lambs gag made me chuckle.
  5. Leontes is a million times better at the end of the play.
  6. They played the statue scene straight without gimmick. Refreshing!

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