Freehold Theatre’s “The Winter’s Tale” (July 2018)

Freehold Theatre is an acting company which holds free performances of Shakespeare’s plays. Something which is particularly of interest is that they make a tour of WCCW,  Echo Glen, and Monroe prisons, as well as putting on performances in parks and other public spaces of that nature.

On Thursday, July 12th, they put on a wonderful performance of “The Winter’s Tale” by William Shakespeare here at WSR in the chapel building.

I was charmed and delighted by their interpretation of this comedy of jealousy and reunion.

While I have nothing but praise for all the cast and crew for their wonderful performance, there were a few that I found especially enthralling.

Sylvester Kamara brought flawless life to the flawed King Leontes and delivered an especially moving performance during the trial scene where Leontes’ jealousy reaches hubristic proportions, one of two scenes that I simply cannot stop thinking about.

Christine Marie Brown gave an impassioned performance opposite Sylvester Kamara as long-suffering Queen Hermione and proved her talent by also playing the sly rogue Autolycus. Christine portrayed saving a kingdom from a jealous hubby and swindling an entire spring festival of every loose coin with grace and aplomb.

Sarah Glauser and Mykail Gholston played the young lovers Perdita and Florizel respectively. Watching them court on stage was a true pleasure. They had the lead during the second scene that I cannot stop thinking about, the spring dance. Hannah Morin’s choreography was wonderfully executed.

I would be remiss if I did not also specifically praise Mario Martinez (playing Leontes’ shadow, Time Attendant, and Ensemble Member) and Vanessa Skantze (playing Time), both of whom displayed great skill and grace in their roles.

The crowd favorite of the night, however, was musicians Annie Ford and Valerie Holt. After the performance was completed, the cast and crew treated the audience to a Q&A session where awe for the two musicians was repeatedly expressed by various audience members, both for the quality of their performance as well as the sheer number of instruments the duo played throughout the performance.

The whole cast more than earned their standing ovation, and I would highly recommend seeing Freehold perform to anyone. They do performances in various parks and other similar public spaces to bring theatre to the people. If you cannot see them this time around, prioritize seeing them next time they perform. I know I will.

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