The Winter's Tale at IndyFringe Theatre 

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There's a reason The Winter's Tale isn't widely produced; it's because Shakespeare, like many of the characters he wrote, was flawed and didn't always get it "right." The play is strange, problematic. In spots, the main action happens entirely off stage and progresses solely through soliloquy. The show has an identity crisis moving from tragedy in the first act to comedy in the second; for that reason, critics have referred to The Winter's Tale as one of Shakespeare's three "problem plays," in that it poses a problem to anyone trying to categorize it. One character is literally directed to "exit pursued by a bear" and is never seen again. The play is silly, yet serious; straightforward, yet curious.

That said, this joint production between IndyShakes and Wisdom Tooth Productions does an admirable job of exploring the many possibilities presented by the play. A cadre of talented actors under the leadership of an astute director (Richard Roberts) give an enjoyable performance. Robert pleas in his director notes for a "willing suspension of disbelief" - it's necessary to enjoy this curiosity of a show. If you have a Shakespeare bucket list, this is a good opportunity to cross off a rarity.


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