Old Globe’s ‘The Winter’s Tale’ is one of passion, jealousy, remorse

By Diana Saenger


William Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale,” directed by Ray Chambers, plays in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre at the Old Globe in Balboa Park through Nov. 14.

The production is a joint venture of The Old Globe and the University of San Diego Graduate Theatre Program that each year recruits students nationally to participate in an intensive two-year, year-round course of graduate study in classical theater.

Chambers, a classical actor and director with numerous regional theater credits (including “Hamlet,” “The Count of Monte Cristo,” “Richard III” and “King John”), has worked with The Globe on productions (including “Antony and Cleopatra,” “The Comedy of Errors,” “The School for Scandal,” and “Coriolanus”) since the mid 1980s.

Chambers served as director of the Master of Fine Arts/Professional Actor Training Program at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival from 2001-’09. No matter which of The Bard’s plays one is seeing, Chambers maintains it’s all in the eyes of the beholder.

“Every time I pick up a Shakespearean play I see a different play,” Chambers said. “For ‘The Winter’s Tale,’ I like seeing what the very first audience saw — a play full of surprises and changes.”

First published in 1623 and noted to be one of Shakespeare’s most intriguing romances, “The Winter’s Tale” is both humorous and tragic. When once childhood friends Leontes, King of Sicilia (Christian Durso), and Polixenes (Andrew Hutcheson), King of Bohemia, reunite as adults, things get quite convoluted. That’s because Leontes asks his wife Hermione (Ryman Sneed) to intercede when Polixenes wants to leave. After several events unfold, Leontes is so jealous of Hermione that his actions bring about great tragedy to all involved.

How a bear and someone named Clown (Grayson DeJesus) spin the story in Bohemia is something Shakespeare has challenged every director and performer to reveal.

“It’s very rewarding to watch them begin with a script like “The Winter’s Tale” and from one rehearsal to another see when they really understand the complicated switches, and anticipate all the things yet to come,” Chambers said. “This is really an exciting play for both fans and those who have never seen it.”

If you go


“The Winter’s Tale”


: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday


: Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way


$19. (619) 23-GLOBE.