Shakespeare in the Park is delighted to be able to offer Milwaukee theater lovers three weekends of free performances this summer. Optimist Theatre is presenting The Winter’s Tale on June 12 (media preview), June 13 (opening), 14, 15, June 19, 20, 21 and 22, and June 26, 27, 28 and 29 (closing). All shows start at 8PM.
Optimist Theatre is excited to be returning to their fabulous new home, Alice Bertschy Kadish Park at the crux of the Riverwest, Brewer’s Hill, East Side and Harambee neighborhoods of Milwaukee.
Director M.L. Cogar describes The Winter’s Tale as “a panoramic adventure-romance that showcases some of Shakespeare’s richest language. The story stretches between two fairy tale kingdoms, across the genres of tragedy and comedy…it offers us a jealous king, a wrongly accused queen, a brave princess, a comic shepherd, and a singing thief – in other words, plenty of room for our team of local artists to explore the parallel inventiveness of both performance and production.” The audience, she explains, should “expect clear language and storytelling, evocative movement and music, and technical artistry that celebrates imaginative theater traditions.
Generally believed to have been written later in Shakespeare’s career (1610-1611), The Winter’s Tale is a romantic comedy of jealousy and suspected infidelity, revenge, and ultimately, of redemption and reunion. It contains one of the most famous stage directions in English literary history: “Exit, pursued by a bear.” Some speculate that, because the Elizabethan theaters were housed in the same sketchy entertainment district as the “bear baiting” pits, it is possible that one or more performances featured a live bear.
Of further interest to historians, the plot, in which a monarch falsely accuses his consort of adultery, appears to parallel the fall of Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife to King Henry VIII, and may have been an allusion to which the Bard’s audience would have been attuned.
You’re welcome to arrive any time you like to picnic and enjoy the park.
If You Go:
Shakespeare In The Park
Optimist Theatre Presents: The Winter’s Tale
June 13 (opening), 14, 15
June 19, 20, 21, 22
June 26, 27, 28, 29 (closing)
6PM – People will typically begin queuing for lower tier seating space.
7PM – The lower tier audience seating can be accessed and you may select your chairs or lawn space. Note: Upper tier seating areas are open for selection any time.
8PM – Show time. Run time is approximately 2 hours and there will be one 15-minute intermission.
Performances are held outdoors at the Selig-Joseph-Folz Amphitheatre in Alice Bertschy Kadish Park.