The Winter's Tale
"Of all the many words Shakespeare uses in his vast vocabulary, “time” is the noun most often found. The Winter’s Tale is the only play to have a character actually named “Time,” a Chorus who tells us of the passing of sixteen years that occurs between the first and second parts of the play. For Shakespeare, the idea of time is a reminder both of our mortality and of our eternal life. The paradox of Time, which leads all souls to the grave yet in which the spirit lives eternally, is the essential paradox of the human condition.
In our production, we have brought Time to the forefront in all his many guises. Time is the conduit through which the god Apollo delivers his oracle to the characters in the play. Time is the force of nature that creates a storm and the calm that comes after it. Time is the tempo of music, the rhythm of song. Time is the hope of forgiveness, the yearning for eternal grace.
The Winter’s Tale is the story of a flawed man who makes terrible decisions that cause irreparable damage, yet who finds forgiveness and grace through repentance and through the healing power of time. Much has been written about whether Shakespeare himself was a Protestant, a Catholic or an atheist. What is clear from The Winter’s Tale is that Shakespeare had access to a deep connection to a sense of existential mystery.”
– Directors’ Notes