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Friday, May 1, 2009


Diane Wilson to direct UKZN drama play for Hexagon Theatre in Pietermaritzburg.

"Exit, pursued by a Bear". This famous stage direction might be one of the few things people recall about Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, which is coming to the Hexagon Studio Theatre in Pietermaritzburg in a new production early in May. The play has been dismissed by some critics as an uneasy mix of comedy and tragedy with an unconvincing plot (involving sudden pathological jealousy, shepherds rescuing an infant princess set out to die and a pick-pocketing confidence trickster).

However, after working on this production with a cast of second and third year students in UKZN Pietermaritzburg's drama department, director Diana Wilson is convinced that The Winter's Tale celebrates theatrical possibility. She says: "It is almost as if Shakespeare were saying, ' I'll give you a compressed version of Othello, then on the stage direction 'exit, pursued by a bear,' flip you into an Arcadian setting with a princess who thinks she's a shepherdess and then for good measure, I'll end with the magic of a statue coming to life and I defy you to dismiss it as ridiculous.’

“It is true that if one simply recounts the plot, it seems improbable, but we hope to convince you that in performance this play still has the power, like all restoration myths, to touch an audience deeply," concludes Diana Wilson whose two previous productions in the same venue, As You Like It and The Taming of the Shrew were hugely popular and sold out. Therefore early booking is advised.

Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale runs from May 6 to 9 at 19h00 in the Hexagon Studio Theatre, Pietermaritzburg. Tickets R30 (R20 students/seniors). Bookings on 033 260 5537 or email: