Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

A Tale of a Winter’s Tale.


One of the most memorable performances of Shakespeare that I’ve ever witnessed was in 1996, when a pair of college professors in a 100-level course presented a segment from Act I, Sc. II of The Winter’s Tale┬áin front of our class. In this scene, King Leontes descends into an insane assumption that his wife the Queen is having an affair with their guest Polixenes, and demands that his noble servant Camillo take steps to poison the man.

Our professor had asked one of the students to exist onstage as Prince Mamillus, and do nothing more than play with a small green ball until they were dismissed. After Mamillus was sent off, the ball stayed onstage in one place until Leontes passed by it, consumed by jealous rage…

…and then the ball started following him.

This was, of course, a trick of the floor tile and the way that the shifts in weight created a path for the ball to follow. But the image of Leontes being followed by a tangible object the traditional color of jealousy was impossible to ignore. Afterwards we asked the professor how he’d done that and discovered that it was utterly unintentional. He half-jokingly–but only half–groused that he’d been upstaged by a goddamn playground ball.

Happy Birthday, Bard.

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This entry was posted on April 23, 2016 by in Education, Performance, Theatre.
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