Spring at Traquair is heralded by the changing of the clocks, flowering of daffodils and the start of rehearsals around the grounds for Shakespeare at Traquair’s annual promenade performance.
The cast and crew have been mingling with visitors to the house and grounds over the last few weeks in preparation for this year’s production of The Winter’s Tale, that will be directed by David Bon.
The Winter’s Tale follows the jealous and paranoid obsessions of King Leontes who convinces himself – against the protestations of the rest of his court and to an extent his own better judgement – that his Queen Hermione has betrayed him and the child she bears is not his, but that of his childhood friend Polixenes. Convinced that he alone can see the truth of the situation Leonte’s actions and accusations become increasingly tyrannical.
In the claustrophobic and stifling atmosphere of his court in Sicilia the fortunes of all concerned spiral downwards into tragedy and death.
One of the key parts of the play is the 16 year gap of time that takes place between the first and second half. And there is an echo of life imitating art in this year’s production.
Back in 1997 when the group last produced The Winter’s Tale, the part of the Clown was played by a fresh faced young lad called Mike Boyd. Twenty years later – a lot taller and a little hairier – Mike reprises the role. Along with his father - the Shepherd – the Clown discovers a baby girl abandoned on the coast of Bohemia and they take the child home to raise her as their own. An act of kindness that sets into effect a chain of events that will result in reconciliation and redemption some 16 years later.
The Winter’s Tale runs on Saturday, June 3, and Wednesday, June 7, to Saturday, June 10, at 7.30pm.
Tickets £14 from www.eastgatearts.com. Discounted rate of £8 is available for the performances on Wednesdays and Thursdays.