Das Wintermärchen (The Winter's Tale)after William Shakespeare in an adaptation by Ewelina Marciniak
after William Shakespeare in an adaptation by Ewelina Marciniak
Shakespeare’s «Winter’s Tale» is an emotional rollercoaster. Pure sunshine reigns at the court of Sicily’s King Leontes and his pregnant wife Hermione. Then, suddenly, out of nothing Leontes has a fit of rampant jealousy. He accuses his wife of being unfaithful with his childhood friend and guest Polixenes. Despite all Hermione’s protestations, Leontes has her thrown in jail and Polixenes only avoids death by fleeing the country. In his fury, Leontes even refuses to acknowledge his daughter Perdita, to whom Hermione gives birth in jail, and orders that she must be abandoned. Only when his son Mamillius dies and Hermione collapses, apparently dead with grief, does Leontes recover from his mania and recognise his guilt. Twenty years later, in far away Bohemia, Perdita, who has now grown up, falls in love with Polixenes’s son Florizel. However, because Polixenes wishes to prevent this union at all costs, the young couple has no choice but to flee to Sicily. Perdita does not realise that by doing so, she is travelling home to her father …
What starts as a sombre tragedy ends brightly and full of hope – like a fairy tale. Shakespeare’s romance is – in common with Aeschylusʼs «Oresteia» and Mann’s «Buddenbrooks» – an intergenerational play that deals with how children respond to the guilt of their parents and preceding generations and how individuals ignore the common good as a personal sense of justice suddenly changes into defiance and madness.
The Polish director Ewelina Marciniak is famous for her intelligent adaptations of classical sources, characterised by her consistent search to combine history with socio-political relevance. In 2020 her adaptation of Szczepan Twardoch’s novel «The Boxer» won the theatre prize DER FAUST and in 2022 her production of Schiller’s «The Maid of Orléans» was invited to the Berlin Theatertreffen. Shakespeare’s «The Winter’s Tale» is her debut work for the Residenztheater.