The Winter's Tale



  • Shakespeare's tragicomic romance about the destructivepower of jealousy and the healing power of love. One of his last plays,it was first performed in 1611 at the Globe Theatre, London and revivedin 1612 - 13 to celebrate the marriage of Princess Elizabeth andthe Elector Palatine. It contains Shakespeare's most famous stage direction:"exit, pursued by a bear."

    In 1755 Garrick wrote and performed in his own adaptation,Florizel and Perdita. The US actress Mary Anderson made historyby playing the roles of both Hermione and her daughter Perditaat London's Lyceum Theatre in 1887, a feat not repeated until 1969,when Judi Dench successfully took on the roles with the Royal ShakespeareCompany. A film version of The Winter's Tale was released in1966, with Laurence Harvey as Leontes.

    In the story, King Leontes of Sicily believes his wife, Hermione,to be pregnant by his friend King Polixenes of Bohemia, and ordersthe child to be abandoned. Hermione apparently dies of grief and Leontesis deeply repentant. Years later his abandoned daughter, Perdita, who hasbeen brought up by shepherds, is courted by Polixenes's son, Florizel.Finally, Perdita's identity is revealed, Leontes is reconciled withPolixenes, and Hermione is revealed to be alive.