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The Winter’s Tale

This weekend, the Barnard Theater Department presents Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale in the Minor Latham Playhouse.  Adjunct Art Analyst Alex Taylor attended the Thursday evening performance.

The Barnard Theater Department’s production of William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale was stunning from the moment the house opened. The set design, a senior thesis of Noriko Ohashi (GS ’13), was absolutely beautiful— a posh, well-lit room set on an otherwise empty stage— complete with a portrait of the royal couple of Sicilia, Leontes and Hermione. It amounted to a second backstage, alluding to the nature of court life and what it really meant to be “on” and “off” stage, both literally and figuratively. This beautiful Sicilia set would have been admirable on its own, but it outdid itself by unfolding into a completely different shape, perfect for the wild and carefree nature of Bohemia. Of course, such intense transformation required moments of scenery change by the actors which, while slowing down the pacing ever so slightly, were so worth it. The lighting design, by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, enhanced the scenery beautifully, creating a gorgeous backdrop for this tale. The costumes, designed by Anne Kenney, were beautiful in their own right, highlighting the differences between high-fashion Sicilia and countryside Bohemia.

In terms of acting, I was generally very impressed. Thesis students Lorenzo Landini (CC ’13) as Leontes, Daniel O’Neill (CC ’13) as Autolycus, and Tara Pacheco (CC ’13) as Hermione all performed admirably. Pacheco especially shone, both as a powerful queen and a woman fallen from grace, moving the audience to tears with her passionate yet controlled speech during her trial. Supporting characters, Jin Ha (CC ’13) as Shepherd and Gabrielle Beans as Clown (CC ’14), played wonderfully off of each other, and were simply hilarious. Clarisse Van Kote (BC ’13), Devin Lloyd (CC ’15) and Maria Diez (CC ’15) deserve praise for their ability to play fun-loving citizens of Bohemia as well austere Sicilian courtiers. These, and other solid performances, kept the acting quality high. However, this is not to say that there were no low points. Justin Alba’s (GS ’15) Polixenes was helped along by the fact that his scene partners were always strong. Lindsay Forcade (BC ’14) gave a passionate performance as Paulina, but oftentimes acted from a very muscular place, making her speeches melodramatic at times. Katie Bonnell (CC ’16) was a beautiful Perdita, exactly how one would imagine the character to look. However, her interactions with Prince Florizel (Julien Hawthorne, CC ’14), were wooden and stiff, often making it appear that Hawthorne’s Florizel was obsessed with her, not that they were madly in love.

How the two and a half hour running time seemed to fly by is a testament to all those who were involved in this production. The Barnard Theatre Department’s production of The Winter’s Tale offers a visually stunning, wonderfully acted, and uniquely designed night at the theater. If you were fortunate enough to snag a ticket before they sold out, I advise you to make good use of it. You’ll be glad you did.

Poster via Barnard Theatre

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  • y no katz love? says:

    @y no katz love? Alex Katz’s Camillo was superbly played. Not even a mention, Bwog? Womp.

  • theatre lover says:

    @theatre lover I couldn’t agree more that Lindsay Forcade’s performance was exceptional. She commanded the stage every time she appeared and made us really feel the tragedy of Leontes’ outrageous behavior. Her controlled fury was entirely appropriate to express her unwavering loyalty to Hermione and conviction in her innocence. Her intensity, sensuality and perseverance delivered an outstanding Paulina. She’s an incredibly talented actor.

    Landini was nuanced and convincing as the tormented king and Pacheco very good as the wronged queen. Ha and Bean were very, very funny, and O’Neill was phenomenal.

    Kudos to the entire cast. It was a truly an ensemble effort and a terrific performance of one of Shakespeare’s most complicated plays.

  • Amazing says:

    @Amazing Lindsay Forcades Paulina blew me away. I agree with the first review that she was passionate, she gave the show her all and it clearly showed throughout her performance. She commanded the stage when she walked on and MADE you pay attention to her. Splendid job. She is clearly a hardworking and born actor.

    In addition I thoroughly enjoyed the modern take on the Winters Tale, the cast and crew did an amazing job through and through.

    Lorenzo Landini as Leontes and Tara Pacheco as the Queen both also gave stand out performances with emotional depth and character.

    It was a show well worth going to see!!

  • okay says:

    @okay I saw the show last night and Lindsay Forcade was THE BEST. She was the only one who really UNDERSTOOD what she was saying and had so much invested in the show that whenever she stepped on stage you couldn’t help but watch her. I felt that a lot of the other actors really didn’t realize how high the stakes were in this show. I think a true testiment to Forcade’s strength was the scene in which she realized Perdita was Leonte’s daughter—she showed it all in her expression, and without her in that scene it would have been totally lost.

    I also thought that Bonnell was stiff and boring on stage, though she looked the part.

    Also no mention of Olivia Levine? She was flawless. And I also think Dan O’Niell was the strongest out of the three thesis actors.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Columbia University Wind Ensemble Concert tomorrow at 2pm Lerner.

  • Shout out says:

    @Shout out to daniel o’neil and his divine lower body. Guys got calves like tree trunks baby bro

  • Wait says:

    @Wait Stop calling out specific students for negative attention. They aren’t paid actors. The show is sold out. All you do is make them feel badly.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Yeah, it’s one thing to mention some actors’ shortcomings, but to so explicity split the cast into “good” and “bad”? Very poor taste. I also COMPLETELY disagree about Bonnell’s performance as Perdita. She looked so realistically madly in love I started to speculate about whether the actors had something going on off stage. And while I agree she was well-cast in terms of appearance, complimenting a woman for being pretty as if to makeup for lack of skill is particularly offensive to me.

    2. Bob says:

      @Bob If a review can’t be negative in a respectful, constructive way then it cannot be a review.

      If you want crummy summaries go ahead, but I’ll stick to reading a person’s actual opinion thank you very much,

    3. Grow Up says:

      @Grow Up Just because they aren’t being paid that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t receive a negative review if their performance warranted it. This all comes with the territory of being an actor and putting yourself out there. Stop being butthurt about Bwog (and Spec) finally giving honest reviews rather than plot summaries. There were parts of the show that were mediocre and there were parts that were really well done and that’s what the reviewer is saying here.

  • BC '15 says:

    @BC '15 Very well written review, Alex!

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