For 17 years the "Shakespeare Festival St. Louis" has turned the glen near Art Hill in Forest Park into a place of entertainment and education. Their mission is to take Shakespeare to the stage, to the street, and into the schools all across the St. Louis area. This year's production was one of the Bard's lesser-known romances, "The Winter's Tale".
The plot follows the story of King Leontes (Charles Pasternak) who falls under the delusion that his wife Queen Hermione (Cherie Corinne Rice) and best friend King Polixenes (Chauncy Thomas) had an affair and he is not the father of their two children. Mayhem and drama weave the plot that breaks the cast emotionally and physically, this is the play known for the stage direction "exit pursued by bear".
Themes of time and forgiveness are exquisitely displayed. Time passes and the actors often are exposing action that happened offstage. I enjoyed the use of modern music to open the action. The narration is everywhere in 'The Winter's Tale', so having Leontes rock out to 'don't wanna know' by Maroon 5 before telling the sad story to his family is fitting and also gets the audience moving. Forgiveness comes later Because delusion of Leontes is powerful and only ends with heartbreak.
The cast is talented with storytelling, from the heartache to redemption these actors brought it all to life. Gary Glasgow, Whit Reichert, and Antonio L Rodriguez were standouts with a mix of witty and physical comedy as the rouge, Shepherd, and Shepard's son.
I would recommend a trip to Forest Park to see this show. The glen opens at 530 pm with events running until showtime at 8pm, everyday but Tuesdays. Visit www.sfstl.com for information on the current production and the organizations outreach projects. Now, parting is such sweet sorrow. Until next year for Romeo and Juliet.