A husband’s fierce jealousy is the trigger for a magical and moving tale, set in Sicily and Bohemia, which begins with a cruel punishment and ends with a miracle. King Leontes believes his wife, Queen Hermione, has been unfaithful to him with his best friend, so he puts her in prison and orders that their newborn baby be abandoned in the wilderness. Sixteen years later, across the sea, two young people fall in love and their union becomes the catalyst for reunion, redemption and a family’s healing.

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Photo & Image Design: David Cooper and Emily Cooper

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The Story

Polixenes, King of Bohemia, has spent the past nine months visiting his childhood friend, Leontes, King of Sicilia. Eager to return home, he says no to an invitation from Leontes to stay longer, but is persuaded by Hermione, Leontes’ wife, to change his mind.

Leontes grows suspicious of their relationship and believes his wife and old friend are having an affair. Overcome with jealousy, he orders Camillo, a trusted friend, to poison Polixenes. Camillo says she will but instead, convinced that Hermione is innocent, she warns Polixenes about Leontes’ intentions. Camillo and Polixenes flee to Bohemia, which further fuels Leontes’ mistrust.

Hermione, who is pregnant, is arrested and imprisoned. Leontes ignores the counsel of his lords and seeks direction from the Oracle of Delphi regarding Hermione’s fate. While in prison, Hermione gives birth to a daughter. Lord Antigonus’ wife, Paulina, presents the baby to Leontes. She hopes the sight of his new child will soften his heart, but the king rejects the infant. He orders Antigonus to take the baby to a far-off land and leave her there to die.

As Hermione is put on trial, Leontes receives the Oracle’s judgment: Hermione is innocent and furthermore, the king will have no heir until his banished daughter is found. Leontes nonetheless orders the trial to proceed, only to learn that his son, Prince Mamillius, has died. Hermione faints and is carried out of the court. Paulina later brings word that the queen is dead. Filled with remorse, Leontes vows to dedicate himself to a life of mourning.

Meanwhile, Antigonus travels to the Bohemian coast, where he abandons the baby, Perdita, along with gold tokens and documents that detail her royal heritage. On his way back to Sicilia, Antigonus is killed by a bear. The Old Shepherd and his son discover the baby and decide to raise her as their own.

Sixteen years later…In Bohemia, Prince Florizel, Polixene’s son, and Perdita, the Old Shepherd’s daughter, have fallen in love. Polixenes and Camillo attend a local sheep shearing festival in disguise and discover the young lovers are betrothed. Appalled, the king reveals his identity and bans his son from ever again seeing the humble shepherdess. He then reprimands the Old Shepherd for encouraging the relationship.

Camillo persuades Florizel and Perdita to sail away with her to Sicilia, and they escape with the aid of a local pickpocket, Autolycus. Polixenes follows in pursuit. When the Old Shepherd explains that he wants to set things right with Polixenes, Autolycus helps him and his son make their way to Sicilia as well.

In Sicilia, Leontes is anxious to make amends for the past and he warmly welcomes Camillo, Perdita and Florizel. Truths are uncovered when the other travellers from Bohemia arrive, and all that was lost is once again found.

Cast & Creative Team

Dean Paul GibsonDirector

Dean Paul Gibson

Director

Selected directing credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King John, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and many more (Bard on the Beach); Habib's Unforgettable All-Night House Party ( WCT-RCA); Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (RMTC/Mirvish); One Man, Two Guvnors (Theatre Calgary); Spamalot, She Stoops to Conquer, Xanadu, The 39 Steps, Black Comedy, The History Boys, It's A Wonderful Life, The School for Scandal and A Flea in Her Ear (Arts Club); One Man, Two Guvnors, 7 Stories, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Theatre Calgary),Toronto, Mississippi, True West, No Great Mischief, and Noises Off (The Vancouver Playhouse); The Boyfriend (Studio 58); Lend Me a Tenor, Good Night Desdemona–Good Morning Juliet (Gateway Theatre). Dean is also an actor and was recently seen in Saint Joan (Arts Club Theatre) and Major Barbara (ACT San Fran/ Theatre Calgary). He has been honoured with multiple Jessie Richardson Awards for his acting and directing and is a graduate of Studio 58. He currently also serves as Bard’s Associate Artistic Director.

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