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Milton Actress in 'The Winter's Tale'

All performances of The Winter's Tale start at 5 p.m. and are free to the public.

Gazebo Players. Credit: submitted
Gazebo Players. Credit: submitted

The Gazebo Players are pleased to announce the cast and performance schedule for their thirteenth annual free Shakespeare in the Park production, which includes an acres from Sharon. 

This year’s play is The Winter's Tale, directed by Marianne Phinney of Walpole. 

The Winter’s Tale is one of Shakespeare’s “romance” plays with elements of both tragedy and comedy. Marianne has directed four of the Gazebo Players’ previous productions, including their inaugural production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and most recently their tenth anniversary production, The Comedy of Errors.

The Winter's Tale tells the story of two old childhood friends, King Leontes of Sicilia (Charles Hughes of Quincy) and King Polixenes of Bohemia (Benjamin Medeiros of Jamaica Plain). When the play begins, Polixenes has been visiting Leontes for the past nine months. Leontes begs Polixenes to stay longer, but Polixenes insists he must attend to matters at home in Bohemia. 

When Leontes’ Queen, Hermione (Katie Speed of Westborough), is able to persuade Polixenes to stay, Leontes becomes obsessed with the thought that Hermione has been having an affair with Polixenes. Leontes orders his advisor Camillo (Steve Small of Medfield) to poison Polixenes, but Camillo instead helps him sneak out of Sicilia back to Bohemia. Leontes then accuses Hermione of adultery and imprisons her, along with her lady-in-waiting Emilia (Mary Fleming of Wrentham). Hermione gives birth to a baby girl in prison. Paulina (Barbara Schapiro of Sharon), the wife of Leontes’ councilor Antigonus (also played by Steve Small), brings the baby to Leontes, hoping that he will recognize the child as his own and release Hermione. Instead, he orders Antigonus to take the child and abandon her in some deserted area.

Leontes puts Hermione on trial, which is interrupted by Cleomines (Lydia Plakias of Medfield), a messenger from the Oracle at Delphi who tells him Hermione is innocent. He disregards this and finds her guilty. Their son Mamillius (Nathaniel Parkman of Foxborough) dies of shock and Hermione collapses. Both are declared dead. Only too late does Leontes feel remorse and regret what he has done. Meanwhile, Antigonus is shipwrecked on the shores of Bohemia, where he leaves the baby with gold and a note. A shepherd (Cynthia Small of Medfield) and his son (Cameron Small of Medfield) find the child. They decide to adopt her and bring her up as the shepherd’s daughter.

Sixteen years later, the baby girl, Perdita (Marielle Boudreau of Norfolk), has grown into a beautiful young woman and Polixenes’ son Prince Florizel (Brian Michael Balduzzi of Brighton) has fallen in love with her. His father and Camillo, now Polixenes’ advisor, follow Florizel in disguise to a sheep-shearing festival to see what he has been up to. Also in attendance is Autolicus (Jennifer Walsh of Milton), a former Bohemian courtier who, having turned to a life of thievery and cheat, proceeds to pick pockets and swindle guests. As the events of the play unfold, the characters from both kingdoms clash, unite, condemn, and forgive while journeying from Sicilia to Bohemia and back. There are miracles, true love, redemption, comic relief, and Shakespeare’s most famous stage direction: “Exit, pursued by a bear.” And as one would expect in a romance, all is right by the end. Even the villain is redeemed!

All performances of The Winter's Tale start at 5 p.m. and are free to the public. The production opens in Medfield at the Gazebo next to the Medfield Public Library on Saturday and Sunday, July 19 and 20. The play then travels to Medway for performances in Choate Park on Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27. The production wraps up with performances at Bird Park in Walpole on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 2 and 3. In case of rain, the Medfield performances will be given at the First Parish U.U. Church (26 North St.), the Medway performances will be given at the Medway Public Library (26 High St.), and the Walpole performances will be given at the Walpole Footlighters Playhouse (2 Scout Rd.). Audiences are encouraged to bring picnics, sunscreen, and bug spray to the outdoor performances.

For more information or directions, visit our website at www.gazeboplayers.com.


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