So last week after a gut-wrenching lovely meal at UNO’s (it was Matt’s idea) on Columbus Avenue, Matt and I made our way over to the Delacorte Theatre to see A Winter’s Tale, the less popular of the two productions in Shakespeare in the Park this season (though the reviews would show that it’s the more impressive of the two by far). 

In the cast were such names as Jesse L. Martin and Jesse Tyler Fergeson (okay, so they aren’t really names unless you’re a theatre geek) but the ensemble overall was immensely talented.  I’d never seen A Winter’s Tale before so I was excited. 

A Winter’s Tale tells the story of a king, Leontes, who becomes convinced that his wife, Hermione, is cheating on him with Polixiene, another king, and banishes her from the kingdom.  Leontes tells Antigonus to abandon Hermione’s newly born daughter on the shore.  Luckily, the baby (named Perdita) is found by a sherperd who raises her for the next sixteen years.  Polixienne’s son falls in love with Perdita and protests from the parents ensues because they are all unaware of her royal background.

Being that this was my first time seeing A Winter’s Tale, I definitely missed a few things but because Shakespeare was such a genius writer, I got the gist of the plot (though I could’ve definitely used a second viewing).  The set was fantastic because instead of having a huge backdrop as Shakespeare in the Park so often uses, they let the castle in Central Park be part of the scene and it was perfect since the play takes place in a kingdom.

Costumes, sets, lighting (helped largely by the setting sun, which as always was perfect) were all simple yet beautiful.  Jesse Tyler Ferguson played the same goofy character that he always seems to play (but as always, he did it well).  Jesse L. Martin was honest and sincere as Polixienne.  Linda Emond (Hermoine), Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Leontes), and Heather Lind (Perdita) were perfectly cast, too. 

Shakespeare in the Park has put together another perfectly executed production this summer, and as always, it’s sad to see it another season come to a close this weekend.

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