The Winter’s Tale

  • Katharine Goodland
  • John O’Connor
Part of the A Directory of Shakespeare in Performance Series book series (DSP)


The Winter’s Tale was a bleak, Nordic affair. Two years ago Trevor Nunn set the RSC production somewhere near the Arctic Circle. Robin Phillips’ concept was different yet related. Sicily was a court of Eastern Europe, sometime in the 1880s: polished, artificial, repressed. It was a civilization and its discontents. The critics variously guessed the location as Austro-Hungary, a German or Baltic principality, or Czarist Russia. For me, the Russian elements predominated. Young Mamillius, in white uniform and kneeboots, was clearly a Czarevitch. The soldiers wore long greatcoats, and Paulina a fur hood. The brief scene with the Delphic messengers took place in a railway station à la Anna Karenina. Polixenes, visiting from one of the German states, wore a Maltese cross decoration. An Orthodox priest appeared among the extras. All pointed to the unstated historic metaphor at the heart of the production: the Winter Palace. (Ralph Berry, Shakespeare Quarterly 30 [1979]: 168)


German State Arctic Circle Sexual Appeal Eval Miracle Atypical Performance 
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Copyright information

© Katharine Goodland and John O’Connor 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharine Goodland
  • John O’Connor

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