The annual performance of Shakespeare in West Philadelphia's Clark Park opens Wednesday with "The Winter's Tale." The dark, psychological drama will be performed with a chorus of local children.
"The Winter's Tale" is an unusual Shakespeare play; two-thirds of it is tragedy, then it wraps up almost like a comedy. The tragic parts are gruesome -- with violent jealousy, a man throwing his wife in jail and condemning his newborn daughter to be killed by fire.
"This is a family drama," said director Kittson O'Neill. "The people in our world who witness and suffer the most from family dramas are children. I wanted a chorus of kids to witness the play and add flavor to it."
Twenty-five children, ages 5 to 13, form the chorus. It's more of a classic Greek chorus -- a collective witnessing the action -- than a singing chorus, although it does occasionally perform musically. The kids also form pieces of the set (ocean waves) and function as basic scene transition distraction...