THE WINTER'S TALE From African-American Shakespeare Company Comes to The Taube Atrium This June
The African-American Shakespeare Company finishes off its 2016/17 season with The Winter's Tale, one of the few Shakespeare plays that has gone unproduced over its 22 years of making theater in San Francisco. The company's Artistic Director, L. Peter Callender, will direct this production. While he has appeared in the play as an actor four times over his career, this is his first time directing it. "Our re-imagined adaptation will focus on the telling of the story through the eyes of the young Prince, Mamillius. My hope is empower young people and to explore what happens when a loving family suddenly becomes dysfunctional."
Lights and sound and minimal setting will influence the telling of this story. "My initial thought was not to distract with overly laden set pieces, especially at the beautiful space that is The Taube Atrium," says Callender. "Shakespeare's words, contemporary costumes, dynamic lighting and sound will drive this telling of what I and many think of as one of Shakespeare's most romantic plays. Clashing desires, hidden motives, and love, always love live side by side with themes of mental illness, family abuse, and teen rebellion, all coupled with the classic themes of fate, royal privilege and monomaniacal behavior. It is theatre that excites, thrills and makes us lean forward."
"Children listen with their eyes," continues Callender. "They see more than their parents think they see and experience. In this adaptation we are introduced to a little Prince seeing his family torn apart by the suddenly tyrannical behavior of his father. He sees the effects on his pregnant mother and shares a sad tale of what could happen to a family in this situation and, in so doing, leads his family out of the darkness to the light."
The cast includes ERic Reid as Leontes: Regina Morones as Hermione; Cameron Payne, age 9, as Mamillius, who will alternate with Atlantis Clay, age 14, in the role.
ERic Reid is making his second sequential appearance with the company, coming off his starring role in Jitney. "Eric is such a focused, hard-working actor, and though he has never done Shakespeare, wanted to brave the challenge. Any trepidation I had was erased after rehearsal started, as he proved to me that he has the strength as an actor to play this complicated man as well as give life to the language."
When it came to young Prince Mamillius, Callender was looking for someone age-appropriate who was smart, open, confident and fearless. "When I met Cameron, it was in his home with his mother and siblings. There was no prep. I gave him some language to read and he breezed thru the text without questions. The more he read, the more I was convinced he would be my choice. This is his first time ever working with AASC. We are thrilled to have this young man in our show."
Regina Morones is a Bay Area-based actor, singer and educator with an MFA in acting from the University of Iowa who last essayed Shakespeare in the summer of 2015 in Romeo and Juliet at the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. "Regina was one of the first actors I cast. She has a natural, regal bearing that immediately impressed me. She handles the language beautifully and when I learned that she also speaks fluent Spanish, I was intrigued, as well as inspired to add a bit more dimension to the adaptation."
Other cast members include ShawnJ West, Brittany Sims, Edward Ewell, Jasmine Milan Williams, Jacob Williams, Awele Makeba, Titus VanHook, Marlo Su, Atiana Gabriella Skokan, and Jazara Metcalf
What: African-American Shakespeare Company Presents The Winter's Tale
When: June 10-18 (with preview June 9 at 7:30pm)
Time: Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm; Sundays at 3pm
Where: Taube Atrium Theater, 401 Van Ness Ave, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94102
Tickets: $30.00 http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2641066