The Winter's Tale Opens at Hampshire Shakespeare Company
July 11, 2002 - Hadley, MA - Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale could be described as two plays in one: the
first half seems modeled on a Greek tragedy with a deeply flawed ruler bringing death and despair to his family and his county, while the second
half has been compared to an Italianate pastoral comedy with love and forgiveness triumphing in the end. The genius with which these two
halves are blended together is what director Benjamin Ware found irresistible as his choice for the second production in the Hampshire
Shakespeare Company's 2002 season of Shakespeare Under the Stars. Opening Wednesday, July 17, and running through July 28, this
production of The Winter's Tale is full of surprises, not the least of which is the treatment of the classic stage
direction: "Exit, pursued by a bear."
The Hampshire Shakespeare Company stage is set in a beautiful meadow, backed by the Holyoke Range, at The Hartsbrook School
at 193 Bay Road in Hadley. Ranks of cows are often lined up attentively watching the performances. Audience members are encouraged
to come early before the 7 pm curtain to picnic on the grounds.
All seats are unreserved, and with the excellent acoustics and flexible seating, visibility is excellent. The grounds
are handicapped accessible and child-friendly. Performances run each night from Wednesday through Sunday.
Tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for students and seniors, and $6 for children up to age 18. Group discounts are
available for groups of 10 or more. Call 413-498-2210 for information about discounts and group reservations. For general
information, call 413-788-4750, or check the HSC web site: www.hampshireshakespeare.org. On the web site you will find a full schedule
of performances, a synopsis of the play, and much more.
The Hampshire Shakespeare Young Company will present its own production of The Winter's Tale on August 2-4, with
performances at The Hartsbrook School at 7 pm each evening. All tickets for these performances are $5. This is the time the
teens who have played supporting roles in the mainstage production get to take the leads. The Young Company is directed this year by
Enhancing the closeness that any theatrical group enjoys is the involvement of two sets of family members in this
production of The Winter's Tale. Newly-wed director Ben Ware's wife Amy is playing the critical role of Paulina, and Kerry Strayer
(Camillo) shares the stage with his nine-year-old daughter Elizabeth (Mamillius).
Throughout the Hampshire Shakespeare Company's twelve-year existence, it has produced not only the best of Shakespeare,
but also new works by local playwrights, and has developed a full range of theater education classes for children and adults. The
Company welcomes new members and encourages suggestions for ways to bring excellence in drama to as many residents of the region as