The Winter's Tale By William Shakespeare
The Winter's Tale is one of Shakespeare's most magnificent plays. Unlike the great histories and tragedies, though, it's almost impossible to get the scope of its magnificence across in production. Often called a romance for lack of any other neat term, the work is famously bisected into a terribly disquieting, tragic first half, set in Sicilia, where jealous King Leontes causes the banishment, death or apparent death of everyone closest to him, and a lighthearted, comic-pastoral second half, set 16 years later in Bohemia (mostly), where the heirs to Leontes and the Bohemian King Polixenes set a healing process in motion through their eloquently intense love. This odd bifurcation, and much else in the delightfully improbable fairy-tale plot, presents directors and designers with huge problems of continuity and consistency.