Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Shakespeare’s “Problem Play” is a Whitman Delight

Actors delight audience members with their whimsical performance of The Winter’s Tale. Photo by Eddie Buchko

As the grey bricks and stones turn away, a green and lively Bohemia emerges as The Winter Tale makes its transition from drama to comedy. Commonly known as one of Shakespeare’s problem plays, the first half is an intense drama and the second half is a lighthearted comedy. From March 1-3, Harper Joy Theater hosted the play. The play’s contrasts were a favorite factor for first-year Jonas Ringgold. 

“I really liked it when they switched scenes, when it went from really dark to really light. The scene in general was awesome,” Ringgold said. 

Sophomore Nikita Scott, who starred as Cleomenes and a shepherdess in addition to making costumes, agreed with Ringgold. 

“My favorite part of the play was the change to Bohemia during the second act, it’s really fun to go from a tragedy to a comedy and I love getting to be goofy on stage with my cast even when we are playing characters,” Scott said. 

The whimsical comedy acts were a highlight for many students both on and off the stage. Audience engagement, clever lines and funny acting kept the audience laughing. Senior biology major Quinn Christian found this to be his highlight of the play.

“I liked when the funny little guy was running around and stealing people’s hats. I also liked when Nick Pecora did cartwheels,” Christian said. 

Bohemia, where Nick Pecora was doing cartwheels, was the center of the comedy. Brooklyn Butler, a sophomore anthropology major, who played Polixenes and made costumes, also enjoyed the play’s sillier moments.

“My favorite part of the play is definitely the scene in the second act that takes place at the sheep shearing party. I got to wear a silly disguise, it’s the comedic peak of an overall sad show, and I got to have my most dramatic moment in the show all at once. It is also a scene with almost the whole cast onstage which lends such a great energy to the scene,” Butler said.

Comedic aspects of the play start before the main performance as actors, crew, designers, directors and more work for months to craft the play. This process creates bonds within the cast that translate to the humor of The Winter’s Tale.

“My favorite part of the process of making the show was the rehearsal process,” Scott said. “When the cast gets together we all have to be serious as it’s a rehearsal but we also goof around and have fun while we are creating this art together. I love this cast and I love how much I have bonded with them over course of the last few months.” 

Butler agreed and elaborated on how the support of the cast helped her play the character of Polixenes in the show.

“My favorite part of the acting process was definitely getting to know and work with this cast,” Butler said. “It was first time meeting most of them and they are all so talented, professional, kind and supportive. It made it easy to build out this character and his relationships and they are some of the best people I’ve ever shared the stage with.” 

Junior Paige Yanny, who played Paulina and helped with choreography, agrees with Butler and Scott that the cast worked together creatively through the rehearsal.

“My favorite part of the process was choreographing the dance scenes in Bohemia at the beginning of the second act. It was truly a collaborative effort and it was so fun to see everyone put their own character’s twist on the steps,”  Yanny said. 

Harper Joy Theater and Whitman Theater are putting on one more production, One Act Play Festival. The student-directed and designed series of plays will continue to demonstrate the continual dedication of Whitman students involved in theater. 

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