Internationally-acclaimed director Guy Hollands joins us from Scotland to reinvent this tale of kings and queens, revenge and betrayal, spanning countries, seasons, decades, and generations. Inspired by ancient pagan festivals, our Winter’s Tale will feature live music, dance, food and merriment. Join us for this celebration of transformation and the healing powers of forgiveness. Best appreciated by audiences 10 and up.
**ALL SEATING IS GENERAL ADMISSION**
Running time: 2 hours, 50 minutes with intermission
Autolycus, a rogue
Leontes, King of Sicilia
Hermione, Queen to Leontes
Mamillius, young Prince of Sicilia
Perdita, daughter to Leontes and Hermione
Camillo, Lord of Sicilia
Antigonus, Lord of Sicilia
Paulina, wife to Antigonus
Emilia, Lady-in-waiting to Hermione
First Lady, Lady-in-waiting to Hermione
Other Lords and Gentlemen of Sicilia
Polixenes, King of Bohemia
Florizel, Prince of Bohemia
Shepherd, reputed father of Perdita
Clown, Shepherd’s son
Other Shepherds, Shepherdesses, Satyrs, and Musicians
The Winter’s Tale Plot Synopsis
Act 1, scene 1. Leontes’ palace.
Leontes attempts to convince his childhood friend, Polixenes, to extend his visit that has already lasted nine months. Both discuss their remarkable sons. Unable to persuade Polixenes, Leontes elicits the help of his wife, Hermione, who is 9 months pregnant. When Hermione succeeds in persuading Polixenes to stay, Leontes becomes jealous of the affection between Hermione and Polixenes. Convinced they are having an affair, Leontes orders a reluctant Camillo to poison Polixenes. Camillo knows that Polixenes and Hermione are innocent, warns Polixenes of Leontes’ intent, and escapes to Bohemia with Polixenes and his train of servants.
Act 2, scene 1. Leontes’ palace.
Hermione’s women attendants play with Mamillius and Hermione asks him to tell a story. Leontes discovers that Polixenes and Camillo have fled and believes they had been plotting against Leontes’ life. Leontes publicly accuses Hermione of adultery and Camillo of treason. Antigonus and other Lords defend Hermione. Leontes tells them that he has sent messengers to the oracle in Delphos to confirm his suspicions.
Act 2, scene 2. Prison in Sicilia.
Paulina is denied access to Hermione, but speaks with Emilia and discovers that Hermione has delivered a daughter while in prison. Paulina plans to present the baby to Leontes to calm his unfounded anger.
Act 2, scene 3. Leontes’ palace.
Leontes inquires about Mamillius, who has been ill since Hermione was accused of adultery. Paulina presents the baby to Leontes, but he believes it is Polixenes’ child and orders for the baby and Hermione to be burned. At the appeal of his Lords and Antigonus, Leontes then orders Antigonus to take the baby to a remote place and abandon it. A servant announces that messengers sent to the oracle have returned to Sicilia.
Act 3, scene 1. Leontes’ palace.
Hermoine is placed on trial and maintains her innocence. The oracle is read, proclaiming that Hermione, Polixenes, and Camillo are innocent and that Leontes will not have an heir if the banished baby is not found. Leontes rejects the oracle. A servant announces that Mamillius has died. Hermione faints and is taken out. Leontes repents. Paulina reenters and pronounces that Hermione has died and rages at Leontes. Leontes vows to mourn eternally.
Act 3, scene 2. The shores of Bohemia.
Antigonus arrives with a Mariner on the shores of Bohemia. He recounts a dream he had of Hermione and names the baby Perdita. Antigonous leaves the baby, but is then pursued and killed by a bear. The Old Shepherd, looking for his lost sheep, finds Perdita. The Shepherd’s son enters and recounts Antigonus’ death and the wreck of the Sicilian ship. The Shepherd and his son discover gold with the baby and take her home with them.
Act 4, scene 2. Polixenes’ palace.
Camillo admits that he is homesick and he and Polixenes discuss the recent absence of prince Florizel. Polixenes decides to go in disguise to the Old Shepherd’s home to confirm rumors that Florizel has been spending time there.
Act 4, scene 3. A road near the Shepherd’s cottage.
Autolycus, a rogue, tells that he is recently unemployed and seeking income. He encounters the Clown, learns of the sheep-shearing festival, and picks his pocket.
Act 4, scene 4. The sheep shearing festival
Florizel, known as Doricles to all but Perdita, woos Perdita, hostess of the feast. Polixenes and Camillo, disguised, come to the feast as guests and are taken with Perdita’s beauty. There is much music, singing, and dancing and Autolycus comes to sell his wares. Polixenes discovers that Florizel and Perdita are in love and plan to marry and warns Florizel that he owes loyalty to his father. When Florizel casts off this duty, Polixenes removes his disguise, forbids Florizel from seeing Perdita again, and threatens to punish the Old Shepherd, the Clown, and Perdita. Camillo advises Florizel to flee to Sicilia with Perdita, predicting that Leontes, seeking forgiveness, will welcome them there. Autolycus enters, having sold all his wares and picked every pocket. Camillo has Florizel disguise himself by changing clothes with Autolycus. Autolycus intercepts the Shepherd and the Clown on their way to Polixenes to reveal how they found Perdita, and thus avoid punishment. Autolycus directs them to the ship where the king is boarding. The Shepherd agrees that Autolycus should act as their agent in presenting their case to the king and they go to board the ship.
Act 5, scene 1. Leontes’ palace.
Sicilian Lords attempt to convince Leontes that he has mourned enough and should marry again. Paulina reminds them of past events and the oracle. Leontes, still in mourning, yields to Paulina. Florizel and Perdita arrive at the palace. Florizel invents a story to explain their journey and his lack of attendants. As Leontes welcomes them, a servant announces that Polixenes and Camillo have arrived in Sicilia. Leontes discovers the truth of Florizel’s journey and goes to meet Polixenes.
Act 5, scene 2. Before Leontes’ palace.
Prompted by Autolycus, two Gentlemen and Emilia recount the revelation of Perdita’s true identity, the reunion between Leontes and Polixenes, Paulina’s reaction to Antigonus’ fate and meeting Perdita, and Perdita’s reaction to the story of her mother. Emilia reports that all are going to see Hermione’s statue, which had been secretly kept by Paulina. Autolycus blames himself for the good fortune of others and laments his honesty. The Clown and Shepherd comfort him and all go to see the statue.
Act 5, scene 3. A chapel in Paulina’s house.
Paulina reveals Hermione’s statue. As all marvel, Paulina claims that she can make the statue move. Calling on their faith, she awakens the statue with music and Hermione moves and speaks. Leontes begs her forgiveness. Hermione, Leontes, and Perdita are reunited. To comfort Paulina, lamenting the loss of Antigonus, Leontes pairs her with Camillo. All exit to recount further details of their parts in this tale.
Scoop on Sunday: History, Context, and Gossip
Join us for Scoop on Sunday, a lively discussion before every Sunday 7pm performance of The Winter's Tale. A member of the cast and a People’s Light artistic staff member will fill you in on the world of the play, how and why we chose it, as well as how we cast it, designed it, and rehearsed it. The program will start at 5:30 in The Farmhouse Bistro. Only $15, which includes light fare! Cash bar will be open. Call the Box Office at 610.644.3500 to reserve.
Actors, prices, productions, performance dates and times are subject to change. Additional fees or upgrades will apply. Contact the Box Office for details.