Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale” is considered one of the Bard’s obscure plays, meaning it doesn’t fall into a traditional genre. Still, sophomore drama student Grace Siplon, who plays Autolycus in TheatreUNCA’s upcoming production, says the premise of the show is simple enough: “the show as a whole is about love, making a mess of it, and the power of forgiveness.”
“The play is about the deranged King of Sicily who suspects his wife of having an affair with his best friend, King of Bohemia,” sophomore Jackson Cole said. “I play the King of Sicily, Leontes, who is a man twisted by paranoia, jealousy, and insecurities.”
Despite the demands of being tasked with the lead role, Cole says he feels confident because of his level of preparation. “Once I learn my lines, not just memorizing, but understanding, I am able to develop the character and make choices that align with what drives the character. The process isn't easy, necessarily, but it is completely enjoyable from start to finish.”
UNC Asheville welcomes a guest director, Michael MacCauley, for the production of “The Winter’s Tale.” MacCauley has collaborated with many local theaters including North Carolina Stage Company, Asheville Community Theatre and the Montford Park Players.
Junior Morgan Fuller, who plays Paulina, said of having a guest director, “It’s really interesting, especially since we’ve been doing things differently. We’ve been concentrating more on tablework and understanding what the show means.” Fuller relayed a quote by MacCauley that she finds helpful when studying her lines: “when you know what you’re saying, the audience knows what you’re saying.”
Though the task of putting on a major production during the semester may seem a formidable one, the student actors say they are each fueled by their passion for acting and how it benefits them off stage.
“Being on stage gives you so many tools for everyday life. It gives me confidence to speak freely in public, it has taught me leadership skills, critical analysis, and ultimately just gives you a more connected feeling to the people around you” Siplon said.
“Acting on stage is about more than just yourself, it teaches you the importance of communication with others, empathy, and putting others first,” agreed Cole.
“It’s not easy,” Fuller said. “But we do it because we love it.”
To see the full cast list and more information, read the press release.
TheatreUNCA will stage Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale,” with four performances opening March 2 in UNC Asheville’s Carol Belk Theatre. Evening performances will take place Thursday-Saturday March 2-4 with curtain at 7:30 p.m. One matinee will be offered at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 5.
General admission for The Winter’s Tale is $12; $7 for students and OLLI members; $10 for faculty, staff and seniors. For information and tickets, visit drama.unca.edu/theatre-unca, or call 828.251.6610.
story by Alex Peoples '17
photo by Manny Figaro '17